June 16, 2012
Washington — President Obama announced reforms yesterday that will permit undocumented students with established ties to the United States who have attained academic success and meet moral character standards to remain present in the U.S. and contribute to America’s culture and economy.
“The president’s decision is a major victory for children and America’s economy. It will open new doors of opportunity to hundreds of thousands of young people, and their hard work will benefit our whole country,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.
The Administration’s actions would allow eligible children and young adults to apply for deferred action, protecting them from deportation and providing a means to seek work authorization. The policy applies to youth between the ages of 15 and 30 who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, have resided in the country for at least five years, and are of good moral character. Children under 15 will be protected from deportation until they are able to formally apply for relief. The policy announced today will expire after two years, with the possibility of renewal.
“This policy means children will no longer have to live in fear of being torn from their families and deported to a country they have never known,” said Lesley.
The First Focus Campaign for Children has assertively advocated for passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act, currently S. 952 and H.R. 1842). The DREAM Act would improve upon the reforms announced today, by improving access to higher education and establishing a path to U.S. citizenship for qualifying youth (colloquially called “DREAMers”).
“Only Congress can deliver a permanent solution that allows DREAMers to reach their full potential and contribute to America’s potential. We will continue to work with youth leaders throughout the country to advance the DREAM Act and open doors of opportunity permanently for every child in America,” said Lesley.