US to stop young migrant deportations
The US is to end deportations of illegal immigrants who came to the US as children and to offer the chance to apply for work permits.
Under a new plan, those aged between 16 and 30 who have lived in the US continuously for five years would be eligible to stay in the US. The plan, which goes into effect immediately, is expected to affect as many as 800,000 people.
The move is seen as addressing a key Latino concern in an election year. US President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney are courting Hispanic voters in key states ahead of November’s election.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said deportation laws were not designed to be “blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case”.
“Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here,” she added.
The policy change does not provide a path to permanent lawful status, or a path to citizenship, Ms Napolitano said, adding that it is not immunity or amnesty.
But, she added, many “productive young people” who would be eligible under the changes posed no threat to national security or public safety.
In order to be eligible under the new initiative, illegal immigrants must:
have arrived in the US when they were under the age of 16
have lived continuously in the US for at least five years
be in school, or have graduated from high school or be honourably discharged veterans of the US military
have no criminal record
be under 30 years old.
If successful, applicants would receive a work permit for two years that can be renewed an unlimited number of times.
It echoes the goals of the Dream Act, a bill that aimed to establish a path towards US citizenship for young people who were brought to the US as minors. The bill has not been enacted by Congress.
Latino rights groups in the US quickly hailed the decision, with the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Hispanic organisation describing it as sensible, good news.
President Obama is scheduled to discuss the changes in an address at the White House later on Friday
Source: BBC News
Category: World News |