Obama Won't Seek to Deport Young Immigrants

Friday, June 15, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on June 7. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)

President Barack Obama said the nation would stop deporting younger undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and will grant them work permits – offering hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the country.

Obama said the change would become effective immediately to "lift the shadow of deportation from these young people."

"Let's be clear, this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship, this is not a permanent fix," Obama said from the White House Rose Garden. "This is the right thing to do."

Those who came to the United States under the age of 16, have been in the country continuously for at least five years, have obtained a high school diploma or GED, have clean criminal records and are not older than 30 will not face removal from the U.S. and are eligible to apply for two-year work permits.

Mitt Romney, Obama's GOP election foe, criticized the step but did not say he would try to overturn it if elected.

Meanwhile, students in New York were thrilled to hear about the president's announcement.

“This is a great step, and we’re very excited,” said Lucia Allain, 20, a student at Queens Borough Community College, who came to the U.S. from Peru when she was 10 and will benefit from this change in the policy. “I’m going to be able to work … give back somewhat to my community. It’s still not exactly a path to citizenship, but it is a step.”

Twenty-four-year old Miguel Calixto said he is eager to leave the grunt work that is typical of off-the-books jobs and furthering his education.

“This has given me more hope because I don’t have to worry about working long hours anymore,” Calixto said. “I can apply for financial aid, which will help me go to school.”

(Photo: Undocumented teens gathered in Queens to watch Obama's immigration announcement. Jorteh Senah for WNYC)

Immigration experts say the new policy could have a positive impact on the national economy, but cautioned it will not translate into an exit form the black labor market for undocumented immigrants.

Michael Wishnie, professor at Yale Law School, said the policy is “likely to have very positive effect in our national economy” by allowing young undocumented immigrants to contribute by using their education.

“[They] ended up frequently in the informal sector, taking low wage jobs, working for cash wages under the table in low wage, low skill jobs,” Wishnie said. “It’s going to create an opportunity for those young people to move out of the informal sector into the formal sector in the areas of their training.”

David Dyssegaard Kallick, fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute, agreed, saying the policy will have a positive impact by allowing some undocumented immigrants to join the legal labor force, but that it will not significantly weaken the black market.

“That’s a much bigger problem partly because you have a lot of undocumented immigrants who are not going to qualify for this,” said Kallick, “and also because there are plenty of U.S.-born workers and legal immigrants who are also misclassified workers or who are not part of the system.”

The announcement is the continuation of the administration’s policy, which allowed some undocumented immigrants with clean records and strong ties to the country to avoid deportation. It has been previously criticized as backdoor amnesty by the GOP.

Obama also urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to young immigrants who attend college or serve in the military. The initiative does not grant legal status to young immigrants, as the DREAM Act would have.

But advocates who have been at the forefront of pushing for the passage of the DREAM Act said they were very pleased with the announcement.

“I was just speechless,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “I was so happy that something real, something positive was happening to our immigration debate.”

The change swiftly drew an outcry from Republicans accusing Obama of circumventing Congress in an effort to boost his political standing.

"President Obama and his administration once again have put partisan politics and illegal immigrants ahead of the rule of law and the American people," Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, GOP chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

There were 450,000 unauthorized immigrants in the labor force in New York State in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Jorteh Senah and the Associated Press contributed reporting


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Comments [8]

Lina from atl from Atlanta

This sucks and I hope it gets over thrown. This is like a slap on the face for all of us who went through so much to become legal. Some of us had to climb the pile of shit to get to where we are and now these people get to just pay 450 dollars for the app and get to have a work permit for two era, go to school and has all the privileges?? It's bullshit I can't wait for it to get overthrown.

Aug. 06 2012 05:45 PM
RETUSAF from Las Vegas

"The White House claims that it’s telling Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in not removing illegal aliens. But there is no such discretion.

In 1996, Congress inserted several interlocking provisions into the law that require deportation when Executive Branch officials become aware of illegal aliens.

Congress enacted these provisions explicitly to force the executive branch to place into removal proceedings virtually every illegal alien encountered by federal immigration agents. The exceptions allowed by the 1996 act are very narrow, to be applied only in extraordinary circumstances (such as aliens seeking political asylum).

In other words, the “prosecutorial discretion” that Obama claims he is ordering ICE agents to exercise no longer exists, because Congress eliminated it in 1996.

Congress acted out of frustration that the Clinton administration was using its discretion to let several thousand illegal aliens walk free. Today, Obama is claiming to use the same now nonexistent discretion to let 1.4 million illegals walk free."

Read more:

Jun. 22 2012 09:30 PM
rahgoo from NYC

Shoeless farm boys such as Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell grew up to become two of the greatest inventors. China has become so inspired by their stories that they are now building high tech academies in the center of rice paddies. Shoeless youngsters on their lunch break are asked to assemble plastic cubes, the quickest are enrolled. Many have become the foundation of China`s space program, the rest are leaders in the scientific community.

Jun. 16 2012 03:15 PM

I don't care what your opinion is on the actual content of the Dream Act; the fact is, President Obama is most definitely overstepping his authority, even according to a direct quote from him last year. I personally do not enjoy having a president who thinks he can do whatever he wants; he clearly understands the Constitution, and simply thinks it doesn't apply to him.

President Obama, March 2011 -

"With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws.

There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President."

Jun. 16 2012 01:33 AM
Dave Francis from Indianapolis, IN



The Obama administration is passing laws by decree now, without any oversight and not being addressed by the House of Representatives. I thought this type of enacting policies as this, was for the dictatorships of the world? This is AMNESTY by any other name and will generate a firestorm amongst Independents voters as me, explicitly the TEA PARTY? I guess the Obama government sees themselves above the “rule of Law.” Obviously this is a political push for the children of foreign nationals and certainly performed on behalf of the majority ethnic population? Is this another bloated fraud policy, as seen in the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act. With the possibility of a work visa, they will be able to apply for taxpayer’s money for enrollment in colleges. THIS IS BILLIONS MORE DOLLARS TO THE STRAINED FINANCES FOR EDUCATION AND FURTHERANCE OF EVEN MORE PENDING MASSIVE CHAIN MIGRATION; AT LEAST THE PARENTS CAN BE DEPORTED FOR BREAKING IMMIGRATION LAWS? Democrats have always been generous with other people’s money, so it is very scary wondering what’s next in their agenda of their ‘Political Correctness’? Without any contradiction this is a means to gain millions of extra votes from persons already here, including non-citizens? This has clearly been shown by the Obama Dept of IN-Justice suing Florida, for ethically doing the correct thing of erasing non citizens from the election rolls.

Jun. 15 2012 07:37 PM
Dave Francis from Indianapolis, IN

If you want to read the truth about the lawlessness and carnage along the border, then bookmark the ‘AMERICAN PATROL’ website. Investigate other headlines today such as ‘Catch and release for low-priority illegal’s proposed -- Border agency's secret draft policy includes 'prosecutorial discretion', Obama implements DREAM amnesty by executive fiat!, The Fast and Furious scandal , Reporter heckles Obama during speech declaring sell-out of U.S. workers, Obama regime to help illegal’s, LA Mayor Villaraigosa delighted over Obama's outrageous decree, Rep. Granger alarmed by Obama chicanery, Out-of-control Obama regime to bypass Congress on illegal’s today, Bombastic assemblyman wants to keep criminal illegal’s in the state, NYPD faces politicians, Muslim advocates seeking control of cops, Voters need to make their voices heard on illegal immigration, etc., AMERICAN PATROL is a current exposure site of the nationwide E-media and newspapers, blogs and commentary that the Liberal press prefers to keep from the public. Daily, the truth is revealed about illegal immigration and the corruption in Washington and state assemblies. This is intelligence not found in the press, which the parties keep suppressed. There is an eye opening video from TEA PARTY. ORG about the stunning claim that President Obama is ineligible for the position in the White House and every citizen should judge for their own peace of mind.
The Obama is stealing millions of American’s livelihood, by trying to close down the coal, gas and oil industry. We have more oil in regions of America, then any other place on this planet and would pay off the $16 Trillion dollars; we owe nations that don’t like us. The Canadian pipeline would lighten the load of all consumers gas needs, but Obama has prohibited it and may now be sold to our enemy China. Both parties are to blame for this immigration mess, we find our country hopelessly swamped under? We must alter our future before it’s too late and end this Presidents reign of Socialist philosophy, to give away our wealth to other nations, as ‘THE TREATY OF THE SEA’.

Jun. 15 2012 07:36 PM
red from NY

This is great for undocumented young people who can contribute to the US economy and society. However, it is no doubt that the president did this not to help the young people or for the benefit of the American society but rather out of selfishness to remain in office.

Jun. 15 2012 05:53 PM


Jun. 15 2012 02:47 PM

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