Immigrants who were brought to the United States as children received a bit of good news today. The Obama administration announced, effective immediately, it will block deportations of certain individuals. To be eligible, an immigrant must be no more than 30 years old, have arrived in the country before they turned 16, and have lived in the United States for five years. They must also have no criminal record and have a high school diploma, or be serving in the military or have been honorably discharged.
Eligible immigrants can request a “deferred action” that eliminates the threat of deportation for two years. However, the plan does not create a pathway to U.S. citizenship. President Obama called the policy a “stopgap measure” and “the right thing to do.”
The new policy has obvious shortcomings for undocumented immigrants, but if you or one of your family members are among the eligible people, the news has to ease your fears a bit. For one, it may spur Congress to implement a permanent pathway to citizenship by passing the DREAM Act or similar legislation. It also will give you a two year reprieve from deportation, and give you a work permit, which should make it a little easier to work legally.