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The Dreams of a Million Youth Are Answered

Today, President Obama announced a new policy that would end the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Hispanic youth from our country. The policy itself is being widely hailed, and it could be the determining factor in gaining full support from the Latino community in an election year. The new policy is in direct opposition to Mitt Romney’s proposed tighter border security.

While President Obama was unsuccessful in passing the DREAM Act in 2010, the Obama Administration has announced that it is going to stop the deportation of DREAM-Eligible youth. To be eligible for coverage an individual must:

  • Be between 15 and 30 years of age
  • Have lived in the U.S. for five years
  • Maintained residency within the U.S.
  • Be without one felony, one major misdemeanor, or three minor misdemeanor charges
  • Graduated from a U.S. High School, earned a GED, or served in the military

While the new policy does not create a path for citizenship, it removes the threat of deportation and allows immigrants to work legally within the U.S. It is estimated that the policy will help 800,000 currently undocumented immigrants by protecting young adults and giving a boost to the U.S. economy.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Secretary Treasurer, Eliseo Medina released the following statement in regard to the President’s announcement today:

“Today, President Obama showed leadership and courage by granting administrative relief to eligible DREAMers..."

“DREAMERs are disproportionately high achieving young students with good moral character -- valedictorians, athletes, cheerleaders, J-ROTC members, future scientists, nurses and technology developers -- who grew up in the United States and consider themselves Americans but are not citizens because they were brought to our country without documents.

“They want to serve the country that is their home and we will benefit from their contributions. This administrative relief should be followed with congressional enactment of the DREAM Act.

State Representative Rafael Anchia added:

"I congratulate President Obama and Secretary Napolitano on their leadership," said Rep. Anchia. "This is a common sense, humanitarian approach to an issue that has unnecessarily caused untold suffering to millions of young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought to this country illegally."
"Not only does this directive stop the deportation of these individuals who pose no threat to this country, but it will allow them to apply for work authorization and thereby come out of the shadows and participate in the American dream."

Skeptics say the new policy is pandering to the Latino electorate, making it a hot-button election year issue. The announcement is coming out one week before President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are scheduled to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference.

The Administration's policy decision could help secure swing states such as Colorado, Nevada, and Florida which have large Hispanic voting blocks.

Watch the full remarks of President Obama about today's announcement below: