A new policy, announced early this morning by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, will provide some young, undocumented youth with an opportunity to apply for immunity from deportation. The policy is effective immediately and will apply to those who were brought to the United States before the age of sixteen, are under age 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, and are currently in school or graduated from a United States high school, holders of a G.E.D. certificate, or serving or have honorably served in the United States Armed Forces.
“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."
The new policy will not provide citizenship to the undocumented youth, but instead will eliminate the danger of immediate deportation. It will also provide qualifying individuals with the ability to apply for a two year work permit. While the new policy will not adapt all aspects of the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, it is a major victory in immigration reform.
For more information on the new bill, please click here. To find more information on the DREAM Act, please refer here.