Democrats Stand Up for Immigrants
Last Friday, President Obama decided that immigration reform couldn’t wait. He issued an executive order, effective immediately, directing authorities not to prosecute or deport the children of illegal immigrants. This order applies only to children who are within a certain age range, were brought to America before the age of 16, and have completed either high school or military service. People from this group will also be eligible for work permits.
These immigrants did not choose to come to America illegally. Most were infants or small children when they were brought into the country, and none of them have committed any crime other than listening to their parents. The young people covered by this policy have played by the rules since coming to America, and they want to continue to play by the rules. Under the new policy, they will be allowed to work hard and pay their taxes without fear of arrest or deportation.
This announcement is especially heartening after recent setbacks for immigration reform. Two years ago, despite bipartisan support in the House and a strong push from President Obama, Senate Republicans blocked the DREAM Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. And this past March, Democrats in Delaware’s General Assembly were narrowly defeated in their attempt to pass their own version of the DREAM Act. But the President’s order will bring some much-deserved relief to many immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation for mistakes that they didn’t make.
We need to continue to pursue immigration reform that, as the President said Friday, “continues to improve our border security and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”