This week, President Barack Obama granted a select number of young, undocumented immigrants a reprieve from deportation.
According to a memorandum from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the reprieve applies on to those who:
- came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date ofthis memorandum;
- are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
- are not above the age of thirty.
Obama's directive offers protection from deportation for two years, but it does not include a path to citizenship or permanent residency. According to reports from Minnesota Public Radio and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the measure will affect about 10 percent of the undocumented population. That could be as many as 800,000 immigrants nationally.
Tony Payan, scholar for immigration studies at Rice Unversity's Baker Institute for Public Policy, told MPR that the group included in the order are "young, smart Hispanics who are probably the most integrated of all the undocumented migrants because they grew up in the United States.
Payan added that the directive positions Obama well with Hispanic voters.
"Nobody wants to be mean to the young—especially those working hard, going to school," Payan said.
On the other hand, according to the STRIB, Republican Congressman John Kline said the measure "breached the faith...by granting amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants."
He contrasted this group of immigrants with those of years past who "came to this country legally to work hard, learn English and assimilate to the culture and make contributions to this great nation...Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for breaking our laws."
What's your opinion? Weigh in below (and be nice—no personal attacks, nasty language or racial slurs).