Starting today, more than a million young aspiring citizens who were brought to this country as children (known as “DREAMers”) can apply for U.S. residency and a work permit under the terms of a new policy announced by the Obama Administration last month. The application forms are posted online at the Department of Homeland Security.
In June President Obama issued a directive to halt the deportations of young immigrants brought to America as children. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says:
This initiative brings long-awaited relief to hundreds of thousands working families. It will allow these young people to work, go to school and fully contribute to our society, without fear that they will be torn away from their families and deported to an unfamiliar land.
For the past several years an inspirational group of young activists built a movement and support for the DREAM Act that would provide undocumented young people who were brought to the United States by their parents at an early age a pathway to legal residency through higher education or service in the military. Says Trumka:
It is the culmination of years of activism by courageous and creative young people who are American in every sense except on paper.
While the AFL-CIO, immigrant and civil rights groups have applauded this latest action, Trumka says it is “only a temporary solution that does not does not provide a roadmap to citizenship.”
The AFL-CIO remains committed to creating a common-sense immigration process, one that protects the interests of our children and working families.
Under the president’s “deferred action” directive, students in the United States who already are in deportation proceedings, or those who qualify for the DREAM Act, will not be deported and will be allowed to work in the United States. To be eligible, applicants must be between 15 and 30 years old, have lived in the United States for five years and maintain continuous U.S. residency.
People who have one felony, one serious misdemeanor or three minor misdemeanors will be ineligible to apply. “Deferred action” will last for two years and can be renewed.