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. tommy

    Woot. Obama 2012 <3. Very welcomed change.

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Chuckster

    This is wrong at so many levels. In most any other country, I'd be tossed out immediately if I was daughter/son of an illegal. This removes one of the big dis-incentives for illegals moving to the U.S.

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Bill

    We got to keep all them little Obummercrat voters here.

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. ObamaSucks

    Obama!!! Really? is that the best you can do ? why you didn't come up with this in 08,09,10,or 11 Why now?? hummm It's amazing... we'll see if this changes anything! November is coming soon!

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. guest

    Man, I sure hate Obama, but on this point alone, he may get my vote come November.

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Edgar Martinez

    Is there any chance we can discuss the logic of this decision on its own merits, without attacking a particular political party?

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Bob

    Why is there a cap on the age at 30? That does not make sense. Imagine if you came from somewhere else as a child 25 years ago at age 7, and don't know any place else but the USA and are now 32. That would suck.

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. libs_r_evil

    ANYTHING for votes! liberals make me sick! And what a slap in the face to those immigrants who did it the RIGHT way!

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. Ellie Lightt

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

    or the 41% Unemployment rate for Legal College graduates and black youth???

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Joe

    This is absurd! I'm a liberal and an unemployed young graduate. We need jobs first before illegals! Thisnis shameful.

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Lordelfin

    "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."

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. CC

    Obama just lost my vote

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. Rick

    Now they can stay here and be poor with us, rather than going home and waiting for some American CEO to send them our jobs

    June 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Que

    Just another political move from Obama. Will they pay taxes and pay their own health insurance? Probably not.....

    June 15, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Steve

    Bad idea. While the children aren't to blame for their parents crime (yes, it's a federal crime), allowing them amnesty shows that this country allows people to commit a federal offense and get away with it.

    June 15, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Lisa

    About time... :-/

    June 15, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Grilla

    For Hispanics, this does not go far enough. This is just a ploy to gain Hispanic votes. Why did he not do this three years ago. We Hispanics see through this, like his bogus unemployment rate figures.

    June 15, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. mnesbitt

    what a great country bring in your unwanted children and leave them and we will pay to take care of them. We are going to go broke and then who takes care of us?

    June 15, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Craig from LA

    A very intelligent, practical and humane policy, as opposed to Romney's stupid, impractical and inhumane policy of "self-deportation".

    June 15, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. Labdad

    Gotta firm up the illegal immigrant vote. This is so transparant and just a first in a series of of bold moves to pander to special interest groups to win their vote. It is all politics people, open your eyes

    June 15, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. tet1953

    Congress won't pass the DREAM act? No problem! We'll just implement it anyway. I voted for Obama and probably will again because there is just no alternative. But conservatives are right on immigration.

    June 15, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Roy

    This is a step in the right direction, BUT this best not lead to a doorway to those illegal parents to get a foot in. It is the child's fault, and if they are integrating into society and being productive members, that is acceptable to me.

    Just dont let this weaken the borders and allow illegals a loophole.

    June 15, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. pabloinbama

    this is nothing more than a back-door amnesty and stealth dream act implementation which was already rejected by congress. I can sympathize with these people but they are still breaking the law by residing in the US and doing this is rewarding them and the illegal actions of their parents. If Romney wins, I hope he puts the kybosh on this double quick.

    June 15, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Justin

    Ruining the country for a vote

    June 15, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. guest

    Anyone who serves in the military deserves to have permanent residence status, if not citizenship, upon dutifully serving their time.

    June 15, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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