Grace Napolitano (CA-38th), candidate for the 32nd District, praised the Obama Administration's decision earlier today to halt deportations of undocumented teens and allow them other incentives as long as they meet certain guidelines.
“This is a great step forward on the path towards immigration reform and a boon for the United States," Napolitano said in a statement. "These bright young people have known no other country: they have achieved, served, and been educated in America, and it is their love of the U.S. that keeps them here. I applaud the President for taking this step and allowing our young Dreamers to have a productive place in society.”
Speaking at the White House, President Barack Obama said the change is aimed at people who were likely brought into the country by their parents, and in many cases did not know they were undocumented until they tried to apply for a job.
"Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people,'' he said. The president insisted the policy was not amnesty, immunity, a path to citizenship or a "permanent fix'' to the immigration system. He called it a
"stop-gap measure'' that gives "a degree of relief and hope to driven, patriotic young people.''
The policy is expected to affect about 800,000 people across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the policy will apply -- on a case-by-case basis -- to undocumented immigrants who:
- Came to the United States under age 16;
- Are younger than 30;
- Have continuously lived in the United States for at least five years;
- Are enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have
- Obtained a general education development certificate or are honorably
- Discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors or pose a threat to national security.
The announcement was met with anger by some. Obama was interrupted during his announcement by someone questioning why undocumented immigrants should be granted work permits when the nation's unemployment rate is already high.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform issued a statement online saying the policy announcement "is a clear indication that the Obama administration intends to grant blanket relief to illegal aliens on its own initiative, completely circumventing Congress, which has repeatedly rejected the DREAM Act over the past 10 years.''
FAIR also alleges Obama and his administration have issued this policy, without Congressional authority, in order to boost his approval ratings five months before the Presidential elections.