Napolitano to announce immigration policy changes
June 15th, 2012
09:51 AM ET
3 years ago

Napolitano to announce immigration policy changes

(CNN) – In an election-year policy change, the Obama administration announced Friday it will stop deporting young people who came to the United States as children of illegal immigrants if they meet certain requirements.

A release from the Department of Homeland Security is after the jump.

SECRETARY NAPOLITANO ANNOUNCES DEFERRED ACTION PROCESS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE LOW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITIES

WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case-by-case basis:

1.) Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;

2.) Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;

3.) Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

4.) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

5.) Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (at http://www.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at http://www.dhs.gov). Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.


Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. New Age Independent

    From all indications, this has nothing to do with reform, but will as previously predicted, be granted immunity. Such an insult to all of those who have gone through the steps established and have been granted their citizenship. I see no reason for anyone wishing to enter the US to attempt to do the right thing, when doing the wrong thing is easier.

    June 15, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. Fatty

    Nice. What about the 25% unemployment rate for the legal US youth?

    June 15, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. obamamnesty

    And the lame duck game begins! Amnesty without representation via executive order 5 months before election! Now, if Obama's numbers are only 800,000 you can triple that! We all knew this was coming! Good part is that they will be issued work visas! So there will be a bottomless pool of workers to compete for jobs and warm seats at local colleges where they will now be given resident tuition rates. Welcome to America kids! Soon you can sponsor your parents! Viva La Mexico

    June 15, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. HankInCo

    Today the Secretary of Homeland Security issued the attached memorandum concerning the exercise of prosecutorial discretion for certain removable individuals who entered the United States as a child. Effective immediately, ICE agents and officers are instructed to exercise prosecutorial discretion in a manner that aligns with the Secretary’s memorandum. The memorandum states that, with respect to individuals who meet the criteria outlined below, ICE agents and officers should immediately exercise their discretion, on an individual basis, in order to prevent these low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States.

    An individual is covered by the Secretary’s memorandum if the individual—

    • came to the United States under the age of sixteen;

    • is not above the age of thirty;

    • has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;

    • is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

    • has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses; and

    • does otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

    ICE has also been directed to apply the Secretary’s policy, on a case by case basis, to individuals whose cases are pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and can demonstrate that they meet the above noted criteria. To better facilitate this process, ICE has been further directed to implement a process within sixty days that allows individuals whose cases are pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review to request a review of their cases through the ICE Public Advocate.

    June 15, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. HankInCo

    No more pandering to ILLEGALS. No more abusing our nations laws for cheap politcal gain. POTUS, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    June 15, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Progressives/Liberals are disappointed President Obama did not adopt this policy earlier in term of office. Better late than never. Too bad it had to wait for an election year.

    June 15, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. 4merRepubCT

    This makes sense. I never understood why an armed-services veteran should be deported, or how they were allowed to enlist in the first place, frankly. The INS does not have the staff required to hunt down 'decent, productive citizens', and it doesn't look like there's much support for expanding government payroll.

    June 15, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Four and The Door

    You can take the politician out of Chicago but you can't take the Chicago out of the politician.
    I look forward to 2013 when the Romney administration works for the good of the American people. It will be refreshing change from watching the Obama Administration working only for the good of Obama.

    June 15, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Kevin

    Another instance of picking and choosing when and where to enforce the law. Love how they say "repeat immigration law offenders" will be removed. They have been breaking immigration law every single day that they have ILLEGALLY been here. Slap in the face to immigrants who have had to go through the horribly inefficient immigration process, but did things by letter of the law. This is just another attempt by Obama Administration to garner votes in an election year because his success record the past 3.5 years has been abhorrent.

    Is this what we get to expect from our leaders now? Society is crumbling when our standards are so low this is considered a good idea.

    June 15, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Mona

    And Obama just lost my vote. I'll be staying home on election day.

    June 15, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Dissapointed One

    just months before a presidential election.. Obama did this JUST to get Latino votes.. no other reason.. pandering to the Latinos.. keeping illegals here hoping they will illegally vote.. pathetic Mr. so-called President.

    June 15, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Jeff

    So if my parents rob a bank, can I keep the money?

    June 15, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Anonymous

    another example of dirty politics by obama administration to swing the hispanic and latino vote to his favor!

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Bert BigDongler

    So Janet Napolitano is actually Queen of the United States, who knew? Did I miss the coronoation? Do we need to keep paying the other branches of government?

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. Dave

    Obama just sealed his fate in Nov. NO AMNESTY!!!!!!

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. wmcritter

    The president can't unilaterally just choose to ignore our immigration laws. Especially when it is nothing more than a blatant vote buying scheme in an election year.

    Congress, you better impeach this monster NOW!

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. citizen9

    Since white folks don't want many kids anymore, we need these immigrants. They want to work and can pay taxes to support Social Security for the retiring baby boomers. Who else is going to do it?

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. john wilkes booth

    send them all back immediately, this will cause you oblama to lose your election

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. rand

    I guarantee you that the Obama administration will use this as a campaign topic. The headline will be "Conservatives hate little children, too."

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. Me Again

    You finally get off your duff to do something and THIS is what you come up with? You are so not getting my vote in November!

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. Lol

    You have to love election year Obama. He's a totally different beast. I can't wait for November

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. Jay dilla

    Its about to get hot in this soundoff...

    June 15, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Oldie

    We don't get a vote on this?

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Joe

    THIS IS RIDICULOUS! There are millions of young Americans like myself who were BORN here wh need jobs! Their parents broke the law and they are here ILLEGALLY! Deport them! REAL AMERICANS FIRST!

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. CM

    Rewarding bad behavior only encourages more bad behavior.

    So we're not going to depart anyone under the age of 30 who has lived here illegally for 5 years and at least hasn't committed a felony. What about their parents? Oh no, we can't deport them; we don't want to break up families.

    This is a general amnesty, nothing more. It's an election year tactic to shore up the Latino vote for Obama and to get a new field of voters for the next few elections.

    Meanwhile, what are we doing at the border to prevent more waves of illegal immigrants? Have we increased border patrol? Have we built a wall or at least increased our ability to detect illegal crossings? Nope...

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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