A Lifeline for DREAMers

Today the Obama administration threw a lifeline to America’s immigrant youth, announcing that it will stop deporting and give work permits to young adults who came to the U.S. as children, or DREAMers. Through well-established executive authority, the administration will temporarily spare youth educated in America’s schools from expulsion from the United States.
 
This announcement is especially fitting today, the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Plyler v. Doe.  In Plyler, the Court held that all children in America are entitled to a basic public education, regardless of immigration status. The DREAMers are Plyler’s legacy—students who have worked hard to achieve their educational and career goals and become contributing members of society.
 
“Today, the administration has provided these young adults the opportunity to pursue the American Dream,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “For years, DREAMers have lived with the constant nightmare that they will be deported from the only home they’ve ever known.”
 
The threat of deportation has haunted the lives of students like Heydi Meija, who, as reported by the Washington Post, was brought to the United States from Guatemala at age four and recently graduated with honors from Meadowbrook High School in Richmond, Virginia.  Heydi had planned to go to college, until immigration officers came to her family’s apartment in December, turning her senior year into a countdown to deportation. Today, the nightmare for students like Heydi has come to an end, at least for a while.
 
Under the new policy, DREAMers will be eligible for “deferred action” for two years (subject to renewal) if they arrived in the U.S. before age 16, are younger than 30; have been in the U.S. for at least five continuous years; graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED or served in the U.S. armed forces; and 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.
 
This important victory is a testament to the power of the immigrant youth movement and its inspiring young leaders like recent guest-blogger Lorella Praeli of United We Dream, or Victor Palafox, an Alabama community organizer whom we recently hosted at our celebration of Plyler in Washington, D.C.  The ACLU has proudly stood with the DREAMers at the national level and in states like Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Rhode Island, and celebrates their victory today.
 
But today’s stopgap is not enough.  The President cannot provide our promising immigrant youth with what they ultimately need—a path to U.S. citizenship.  For a permanent solution, Congress must pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants who came to our country as children and graduate from high school.  For over a decade, America’s business executives, military commanders, college presidents, mayors, and faith leaders have called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act, yet Congressional Republicans have blocked the DREAM Act from final passage.  So as we celebrate today’s victory, we call on all Members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act and protect and build America’s future.
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Anonymous

This just means that sneaking over the border is encouraged, and more of OUR unemployed suffer. If it is an AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union, then please uphold the rights and earning power of OUR unemployed.

Anonymous

Im sorry but i just do not have sympathy for the situation they are in.Their parents did them the injustice of bringing them here-no fault of their's,i understand that-but still here illegally and getting educated and living here tax free with the exception of sales tax.Why were they allowed to enter our school system in the first place.They should have been deported way back when they registered along with their parents.They come here illegally and then get a free ride.That being said,i have a heart and think it would suck for them to have to go back to Mexico but the law is the law.If these young men and women were from the Philippines they would get shipped off back home in a second.Not their fault they are here illegally but they are here illegal.Blame their parents.These illegals will take the jobs that some legal Americans would have ended up with-and that includes legal mexican americans-you can bet your ass they will not be picking fruit.We need stronger laws on hiring illegals and shut off all the free entitlements they are given.Have them get work visas and pay them a decent wage for their labor even if it means you pay more for your fruits and veggies.Personally,i would have prisoners out there doing it instead of being useless eaters in prison,and pay them the small wage so at least upon their release they would have a bit of money to jump back into society.If they want to immigrate,fine,go through the process all others go through.We had an incident at work where an illegal took out 25 feet of our fence and crashed into a light pole.He had no i.d.,no drivers license,no insurance...the police came,filled out a report and the illegal had friends come get him and that was it.Any legal American would have went to jail-he never saw a day in jail or court and the fence cost us 2 grand.That is just wrong.I feel for those young adults,i really do,but if they get yet another free pass-it was not free-just to them.

Anonymous

Our President arbitrarily decides what laws to enforce and not enforce. He has his bureaucracy create rules and regulations that effectively are laws which do not go through Congress.

Can the ACLU tell me how this is different from TYRANNY?

Anonymous

Isn't this discrimination? Based on age, education, even criminal background? Why isn't the ACLU filing suit?

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