ACLU Welcomes Action and Calls on Congress to Pass the DREAM Act
WASHINGTON — This morning the Obama administration announced that it will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to young adults who came to the U.S. as children (often referred to as "Dreamers").
Through well-established executive authority, the administration has temporarily spared youth educated in America’s schools from expulsion from the United States. Those who will be eligible for “deferred action” for two years (subject to renewal) include people who 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.”
“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. Today, that nightmare has come to an end, at least temporarily.”
While today’s announcement provides a stopgap measure, it does not provide a permanent solution to the problem.
“The administration cannot provide these youth with a path to U.S. citizenship,” said Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel. “The ACLU calls upon all members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants who came to the United States as children and graduated from high school."
For more than a decade, the Department of Homeland Security has deported DREAMers around the country and congressional Republicans have blocked the DREAM Act, despite calls by business executives, military commanders, college presidents, mayors and faith leaders to pass the measure as necessary to safeguard and build America's economic future.
Today’s announcement comes on the 30th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Plyer v. Doe, in which the high court made clear that all children, regardless of their immigration status, must be welcomed in the nation's public K-12 schools. Earlier this week, the ACLU held a symposium commemorating the anniversary of Plyler, where Victor Palafox, a DREAMer and youth activist, spoke about his fears of deportation by DHS.