Napolitano to announce immigration policy changes
June 15th, 2012
09:51 AM ET
9 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.


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, ICE’s website (at, or DHS’s website (at 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. Patty

    It's about time, let's see if it's still goig to be enforced after the elections.

    June 15, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Roy

    *is not the childs fault I meant

    June 15, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Bob

    This is garbage, the Obama administration is destroying this country by letting all these illegals stay in the country. ILLEGALS are just that, ILLEGAL get them out of here NOW.

    June 15, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Four and The Door

    Nice. What about the 25% unemployment rate for the legal US youth?
    They can suck wind while they are below the voting age. Obama election year politics are not about American youth. They are about Obama. It may seem a little greedy but really it's a lot greedy.

    June 15, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. peter martinez

    So the immigrants who worked hard and by the legal process obtained these rights now are given to 2 million illegals. Yeh I wrote 2 million that 800k figure is as much bs as the unemployment numbers issued by the labor dept. Obama is is a disgraceful Panderor. If he wins reelection good luck to the real americans. Time to store food, guns and gold

    June 15, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. calvin stamp

    Good move... its a bout time we did something like this ,. why should we educate these children and deport them . Frankly, we need these educated and productive people who will help to advance our society., especially since we are lagging behind India and china in education.

    June 15, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. Debbie

    Because we are doing such a good job of taking care of the children that are US citizens! I don't know why any one would try to come to the US the right way, we reward people for doing it ILLEGALLY

    June 15, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Disanitnodicos

    In five years, no one will even remember Obama. His presidency has been the most unremarkable in history.

    June 15, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. m

    How can people come to our Country illegally and demand rights??? I don't get it... Yes America is broken. We need to take care of our own legal Americans who need help.

    June 15, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Dennis

    Im sorry I voted Obama in, my bad. It wont happen again. The incentive to break American laws to give their offspring an advantage will continue for millions and millions and millions of more foregn citizens. The gamble paid off for them. Americans lose more jobs.

    June 15, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Anonymous

    So, by "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;" – does that mean this is essentially a one-time only thing? And we're still deporting 10 year olds who were brought here in, for instance, 2009? Real compassion, WH. You guys are the best. /sarcasm

    June 15, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Piper

    This is awesome news for the Latino community and will help thousands of immigrants in the United States. This is great.

    June 15, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. Matthew Kilburn

    Disgusting. Obama is selling out the laws and integrity of this country to score cheap political points with the Hispanics who side with people of the same skin color over the needs and interests of the United States.

    I don't care how old they are, or how long they've been here. They are ILLEGAL. And they have no right to be in, or remain in, this country. What's more, because they were brought here as the children of illegals, we should also be deporting their parents – so its not even as if we're "breaking up families" to send them back where they are supposed to be.

    Obviously Obama is willing to trade the future of this country so he can bend down a little bit lower for La Raza.

    June 15, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Enough is Enough

    “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. There is nothing sensible about alllowing a group of people who are more likely than the general population to: 1) Drop out of school 2) Join a gang 3) Get pregnant as a teen 4) Not speak English 5) Need social services 6) Commit crimes

    Its beyond words that Obama is willing to make the U.S. more like Mexico so he get get the hispanic vote.

    June 15, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Myviewis

    How did these illegal children of illegal immigrants become veterans of the Coast Guard or US Armed Forces? What keeps these illegal young adults from Voting, afterall, they already served in the Coast Guard or US Armed Forces? So Florida is correct that illegals are able to vote?

    June 15, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. JM

    Some of you might want to bother with reading the article before you comment. This really changes zilch with regard to how immigration laws work. Do also note that the parents in question will still be deported. Does it pander to the Latino vote? Yeah, definitely, but if it keeps that kook Romney out of our White's worth it.

    June 15, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. rad666

    Well we all know that there will never actually be an immigration policy where the illegals are actually made to leave the country, that would not be politically correct now would it. I just can't believe that pandering and catering to illegals has become more important the government that pandering and catering to American citizens

    June 15, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. NeverLift

    The details of this program belie the sound bite.

    I initially thought, from the headline, that those that were brought here as infants and had no experience in living elsewhere, of immersion in another culture, were targeted for amnesty. That would be a boon, a kindness that was deserved.
    Not so. if you were a teenager, you're eligible.
    But, then why the cutoff at age 30? Those are folks who have truly put down roots, are well into careers and family, whose entire lives have been spent in a culture that has become theirs. What makes the 29yo acceptable, the 31yo not?

    Aside from its obvious election year pandering, the criteria in this amnesty program - which should be offereed to those who were brought here as infancts and had no hand in their illegal entry, and have reached an age where they can live and contribute on their own - are, as they stand, nonsensical.

    June 15, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. What?

    Why didn't the requirements just state: Must be over 18 and vote for Obama. This is nothing but a sad political move to garner votes.

    June 15, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Dean

    Obama is shameless and will do anything for a vote.
    Hey Barack bet you could pardon all prisoners doing 20 to life and get their votes also.

    June 15, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. FP

    This administration is making an absolute desperate move – WHY NOW? WHY NOT 3 YEARS AGO?
    Immigrant children are not threat to national security but the citizens of this country go through pat down at the airports.
    People in America can see through this decision what the president is doing. Immigrants could be swayed emotionally
    and sometimes they can't think for themselves. Whoever give them the opportunity to live freely at the expense of taxpayers they could possibly connect to that party. Now, more influx of immigrants will force thru the walls of USA.
    It is an insensible, intentional breaking of existing laws in the USA. You don't want to break the law – therefore, make a new one that favors your intent.

    June 15, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. Nuihc

    I think Obama just cooked his goose.

    June 15, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. judy

    great steps and many of us applaud you. Tired of the repos complaining about taking their country back most came from somewhere else anyway. and most know less about our country than the new citizens do. so much for good christians. Forward 2012 vote all repos out and reallkt take back the free American we all came here for.

    June 15, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. RealityBites

    Meanwhile.., our so-called "Justice Department, " is sueing Florida for removing illegals from its voter rolls, and fighting every other State that has a bill restricting illegals..., contray to its Constitutional role.

    June 15, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    ALL the states need to sue the federal government for BREAKING THE LAW. They are bound by oath to UPHOLD the laws of this nation, NOT BREAK, IGNORE OR CHANGE THEM. The entire Obama adminstration is showing itself to be lawless renegades that don't think they are bound by our laws. These leftists MUST GO IN NOVEMBER or this country is doomed.

    BTW, expect a FLOOD of parents and children over the southern border.

    June 15, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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