The Obama Administration announced sweeping changes to immigration enforcement policy today: effective immediately, young, undocumented residents of the U.S. with clean backgrounds “will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.”
The announcement comes from U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “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,” the statement continues.
The guidelines for consideration are as follows:
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 are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
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;
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;
Are not above the age of thirty.
Homeland Security notes the change in no way provides a path to citizenship; “Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are expected to begin implementing the application process for undocumented residents within sixty days.