Obama ends young migrant deportations


President Obama: "It makes no sense to expel talented young people who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans"

US President Barack Obama has announced an immediate end to the deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the US as children, describing the move as "the right thing to do".

Those aged between 16 and 30 who have lived in the US for five years could now be eligible for work permits.

The move is seen as addressing a key Latino concern in an election year.

But Mr Obama's Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, said it was the wrong way to approach the problem.

Mr Romney said the issue should be dealt with by legislation, rather than an executive order "that can be reversed by subsequent presidents".

The plan, which goes into effect immediately, is expected to affect as many as 800,000 people.

Mr Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney are courting Hispanic voters in key states ahead of November's election.

'Especially justified'

Speaking at the White House, Mr Obama said the initiative was "the right thing to do", adding that "it makes no sense to expel talented young people" from the US.


The decision is a political coup that undoubtedly will energise Mr Obama's sagging campaign. He is using his prosecutorial discretion to bypass Congress' inaction on immigration reform.

The most sensitive issue has been what to do with young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally by their parents. The majority have mostly been integrated into American society, gone to high school and have few ties with the countries they left behind.

Under the so-called Dream Act they have been asking for a normalisation of their status so they may continue to study and make their lives in the US. The Obama government has, at least, met them part of the way, if not by offering residence status, by stopping deportations and allowing them to work.

The measure also pre-empts any projects that might have been presented by rival Republicans, especially a version of the Dream Act touted by Florida senator Marco Rubio, who is a vital card in Mitt Romney's effort to connect with the Latino community.

The president also said the measure had been announced in "the absence of any immigration action" from Congress and urged the passage of the Dream Act, a bill that aimed to establish a path towards US citizenship for young people who were brought to the US as minors.

"They are American in their hearts, in their minds, in every way but one: on paper," Mr Obama said.

He said the measure would improve the US economy, benefit its national security and was simply "the right thing to do. Period".

In an unusual turn of events, Mr Obama was interrupted by a questioner from the media during his announcement, an intervention which left the president visibly surprised.

Earlier on Friday Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said deportation laws were not designed to be "blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case".

"Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here," she added.

The policy change does not provide a path to permanent lawful status, or a path to citizenship, Ms Napolitano said, adding that it is not immunity or amnesty.

But, she added, many "productive young people" who would be eligible under the changes posed no threat to national security or public safety.

Illegal immigrants in states such as Alabama are facing restrictive new laws as well as long-term insecurity about their status

In order to be eligible under the new initiative, illegal immigrants must:

  • have arrived in the US when they were under the age of 16
  • have lived continuously in the US for at least five years
  • be in school, or have graduated from high school or be honourably discharged veterans of the US military
  • have no criminal record
  • be under 30 years old.

If successful, applicants would receive a work permit for two years that can be renewed an unlimited number of times.

Start Quote

A senior official says it is "an exercise in prosecutorial discretion". To many it will look more like a blatant piece of electioneering by Barack Obama, a sop to critically important Latino voters.”

End Quote

Mr Romney said Mr Obama's decision had complicated an issue that could only be dealt with through legislation.

"I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and it should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future will be in this country," Mr Romney said.

"I think the action that the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution," he added.

He did not say, however, whether he would reverse the decision if elected.

Latino rights groups in the US quickly hailed the decision, with the National Council of La Raza, the country's largest Hispanic organisation describing it as sensible, good news.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    Lets add up cost - cont. from 152

    4) Many do not have car insurance. Imaging getting in an accident and being hurt, car totaled to find out driver is illegal w/o insurance.

    5) Cost court/businesses, etc. A case just settled in crt bc a pregnant women who did not speak Eng. did not understand Dr.s orders. Had accident. Dr. was sued for neg. for not giving inst. in Spanish. THIS IS WRONG.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    They are American in their hearts, in their minds, in every way but one: on paper," Mr Obama said.....REALLY ? How about the fact that most still do not assimilate into our culture, always talking about "their" home (countries south of the US border)...and always speaking in their native tongue...give me a break Obama....

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    well people.The only recourse is to vote him out of office.He doesnt care what the American people want.Hell i cant wait for the Election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    Jose: the real problem

    Illegal immigration is a crime which means its wrong

    Since illegals enter illegally that means USA govt doesn't even know how many or who is in our country
    which means its a problem

    USA govt is required by law to protect Americans from illegals

    Anyone who supports giving illegals citizenship or any benefits
    is supporting rewarding those who break American laws

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    I don't think this is a bad thing for Obama to do. It is about time that something like this came about. Economically and on a humanitarian stand point this could strengthen our nation. These people drive many small economies, and they are the people probably most motivated to incur a change and innovate in our stagnant nation. There are costs too, but I believe the gain outweighs them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    15 years in the US and lost my H1-B status in 2008 coz of economy and discrimination policy of US companies.
    I have more than 7 years of experience in IT in various US companies and now I'm working with Mexicans in California farm land. So people, USA is not what you think it is. When the time is bad for them, they will treat you exactly like the way Chinese, Russians or Arabs would treat you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    There *are* jobs there but companies rather give them to people who are going to work cheaper.
    Are you suggesting that unscrupulous employers are screwing the system or just describing 'free' market economics?

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    It's insulting that humans are categorized by race, rligion, sex, intelligence, earnings etc. etc.

    Nationality is just another catergorization and demeans humans with scraps of paper.

    Good job Mr Obama for realizing this.

    We are Earthmen and Earthwomen is all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    31. Ral
    Lets add up cost

    1. $7,000 a year for each child. For 3 that is $21,000 a year.
    2. No health insurance. Health care costs, births (numerous), accidents, health issues, subsidized by American tax payers.
    3. Programs for lower income that shd be helping poor American par exhausted by illegals. Head Start, free lunch programs at schools.

    Will continue...

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    @143 JosetheBaritone

    If what you have said in your many posts is true (?) then you are 26 years old. We are all on tender hooks waiting for 'your' opinion of how the world works.

    You are coming across as a disrespectful twerp.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.


    LOL no. You have no evidence to back that up. I know illegal immigrants, and they very well do pay taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare, even though they will never touch it. They do pay local taxes every time they make a purchase at the local convenience store. They pay property taxes/contribute to it just by renting property. It's a transfer of income from them to the owner. Sad

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Billthefirst, if you are living someplace illegally you need more then heart attack help, you need regular medical attention. BTW American hospitals do not turn away people from emergency because they can't pay. There are clinics that help those who have nothing, it is the middle class who are having trouble covering the cost because that is how the hospitals cover their cost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    To me Obama's policies signify
    the end of everything that I love about America

    Dear God I don't understand why everything we love is being taken away from us by Obama
    except that people before us elected Bush+he did many bad things
    in the world
    Now we are being punished for Bush by Obama ruining our country

    I'm so sorry dear God
    This feels like the end of America

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    If Obama is allowed to get around a law that he can't change just by not enforcing it then in the future another administration can do the same
    Just think of it as a tax law.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.


    Most to not pay taxes because do not have SSN. Many work in jobs on cash basis, farming, maids, construction, etc. Also, most are renting, so not paying property taxes which funds schools. Finally, most make low wages and cannot possibly cover the apprx $21,000 a year to educate their on average 3 children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    137. beammeup
    I agree with you. Easy to write something like that, much harder to back it up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    I’m divided. I agree that the concept of this is insulting to anyone who has spent time and energy getting their own visas, but at the same time, all Obama is doing is providing a legal means of staying in the country for people who never had the choice to come here in the first place. I think that this could be beneficial to the country, pandering or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    Lucy where are you from? Where did you gt your groceries from? are they from Mexico? China? what kind of clothes do you wear and where did you get them. You see here is the real problem here is how we can fix the economy. You seem to be a law abiding citizen yet in the infinite ignorance that is clouding your judgement and ability to really think and see things with a humane vision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    What is interesting is that he's saying they are eligible for work permits. What about State and Federal aid programs; FAFSA being the foremost. The students are not going to be eligible for grants or loans.
    -Hey, now that you're here you can contribute to GDP, but don't even think about getting anything more than wages in return.
    Make cookies with me, but don't think about eating any of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    obama is not respecting the vote of congress by doing this,, these people have committed a crime by coming into the country illegally and continue to commit a crime by harboring their illegal parents. there is also no way of checking who arrived as a child once they are grown, this will encourage millions more to pour across the border


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