Congressional Digest

    President Implements DREAM Act Provisions by Executive Order

By , Editor,
June 15, 2012

The Obama Administration announced today that it will stop deporting and start granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who meet specific criteria. The new policy is consistent with the DREAM Act, legislation to streamline the legalization process for young undocumented immigrants. That legislation has stalled in Congress since December 2010, when the Senate bill fell short (55 to 41) of the 60 votes needed to prevent a Republican filibuster. (For background on this issue, see the November 2010 Congressional Digest, “The DREAM Act.”)

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the new policy, stating:

“Our Nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner. But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration give to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may never have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-R) criticized the move, stating:

“Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came here as children and the Federal Government has no way to check whether their claims are true. And once these illegal immigrants are granted deferred action, they can then apply for a work permit, which the Administration routinely grants 90 percent of the time. How can the Administration justify allowing illegal immigrants to work in the U.S. when millions of Americans are unemployed?”

 

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