USCRI Praises Decision by President Obama to Halt Deportation of 800,000 Immigrant Children and Young Adults
June 15, 2012
(Washington, DC) - The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) today praised President Obama’s announcement that the federal government immediately will halt the deportation of undocumented immigrant children and young adults who meet certain criteria, potentially benefitting 800,000 individuals in the U.S. The Administration also announced that these young people may apply for authorization to work in the U.S. legally for the first time. USCRI operates a national program serving the legal and social needs of immigrant children, and fights for policies that respect their rights.
“We are very pleased with the bold and historic announcement by the White House today,” said Lavinia Limon, President and CEO of USCRI. “This policy decision for undocumented immigrant children and young adults is humanitarian, compassionate and practical, all at the same time. This is an important expansion of President Obama’s earlier order that prosecutorial discretion be exercised by government lawyers in non-priority deportation cases. It should allow hundreds of thousands of young people to come out of the shadows and become full participants in our society. I also hope the President’s action today will inspire Congress to find needed, permanent solutions for the other hardworking undocumented migrants who live among us.”
Under today’s executive announcement, the Department of Homeland Security now will consider not pursuing removal of persons who came to the United States under the age of 16 and who are now younger than 30; who have resided here continuously for 5 years; maintained a clean criminal record; and are currently either attending school, graduated, obtained a GED, or served in the military. This policy applies to young people currently in removal proceedings and those with final orders of removal.
“Without today’s decision, thousands of children in communities all across the United States face eventual deportation, even though they were brought here by no fault of their own. Many of them are really great young people who contribute greatly to their schools and communities. The Administration is wise to exercise discretion in these cases,” said Tricia Swartz, Director of USCRI’s Immigrant Services Division.
USCRI has been protecting refugees, serving immigrants, and upholding freedom since 1911.