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Washington, DC – Today, the Obama Administration is announcing a bold move to protect an estimated 800,000 undocumented young people. According to the Associated Press, “Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are [30 and younger], have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods.”
The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
“This is huge. As a result of today’s decision, hundreds of thousands of young people who are American in all but paperwork will have the opportunity to live freely, work legally, and contribute to the country they love. The President is right to step up and protect these young people, because this expansion of existing policy is the only viable path to meaningful relief for Dreamers this year.
“The DREAM Act started over 10 years ago as a bipartisan common sense bill. Over the years, Republicans who supported it in the past, including original co-sponsor Orrin Hatch (R-UT), have become opponents as the Republican Party has lurched to the right. And despite efforts by some in the GOP, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), to reposition the GOP on the issue, House Republicans have made it clear that any version of DREAM would not pass the House this year.
“We salute the President and his team for this bold move to make sure our immigration system includes rather than deports young people who have done everything right and nothing wrong, and only want to contribute to the country they call home.”
Below is a collection of relevant information on the DREAM Act, including an assessment of why President Obama has the necessary legal authority to provide executive relief, as he did today, and analysis of the lack of a viable legislative path forward in Congress for the DREAM Act or Republican-authored alternatives such as Senator Rubio’s impending bill.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the DREAM Act passed by a 216-198 margin
The DREAM Act also won majority support in the Senate, but it failed to win the 60 votes needed to end the Republican filibuster on the measure and the bill died. The final vote tally was 55-41
America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.