Friday, June 15, 2012
Bill Hing blogged this morning about the Obama administration's vindication of the DREAMers. It is appropriate that these historic words from Janet Napolitano,Secretary of Homeland Security, on "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children" come on the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Plyler v. Doe:
By this memorandum, I am setting forth how, in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should enforce the Nation's immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home. As a general matter, these individuals lacked the intent to violate the law and our ongoing review ofpending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them. However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities.
The following criteria should be satisfied before an individual is considered for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion pursuant to this memorandum:
• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• has 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 of this memorandum;
• is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces ofthe United States;
• has 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
• is not above the age of thirty.
For more on this breaking story, click here and here. Kudos to the DREAMers for their political activism and for the immigration law professors, led by Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA), who backed them up in a letter to President Obama a few weeks back.
The Obama administration’s policy decision could provide relief from deportation to as many as 1.4 million noncitizens under the age of 30, according to a Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis released today.