WASHINGTON, June 15, 2012 – NAFSA: Association of International Educators applauds today’s action by the Obama Administration to end deportations of undocumented young people in the United States who would be eligible for a path to legal status under the DREAM Act.
A policy of “deferred action,” announced in a memorandum today by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, establishes the guidelines under which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will exercise its prosecutorial discretion in these cases, including requirements related to age of arrival and length of residency in the United States, criminal history, education and military service.
NAFSA has long urged the Obama Administration to make “deferred action” official government policy for undocumented students in the United States. If implemented as described in the DHS memorandum, this action is a major step forward. It will offer urgently needed reprieve, on a rigorous case-by-case basis, for individuals who currently find themselves, through no fault of their own, in an untenable and frightening legal limbo. Undocumented students, brought to the United States by their parents as children, today live under the constant threat of deportation and are unable to contribute productively to the only country they call home.
The Administration’s action moves to do what is right and humane in the case of these individuals, giving Congress the room to do its long-delayed and still-urgent job: to pass the DREAM Act and confer the benefits in that act by law.