The Obama administration has announced a new policy to put into place some provisions of the DREAM Act, making some young people brought to the United States illegally as children safe from deportation proceedings.
The DREAM Act, formally known as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, is a 10-year-old bill designed to give undocumented immigrants a path to higher education and citizenship.
President Obama said the change would become effective immediately. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship, but early reports indicate it will affect 800,000 people.
ACE, which has long supported congressional efforts to pass the DREAM Act, praised the new policy as a beginning to the removal of barriers to higher education for thousands of students who have grown up in the United States and have the desire and capacity to make vital contributions to the nation’s economic strength and security.
While this directive does not create a path to citizenship for those it seeks to protect from deportation, it is a good first step and buys time for these individuals until Congress can reach agreement on legislation to address the broader aspects of citizenship status, said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.
Under the plan, individuals will be eligible for deferred action on deportation if they can prove they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.
For more on the new policy and to see how it has been received throughout the country, see the following stories: