Step Toward Reform?

The White House will halt the deportation of as many as 800,000 young illegal immigrants and in some cases give them work permits, in a sweeping new initiative announced by the Department of Homeland Security. People under 30 who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas when they were under the age of 16 will be immune from deportation if they have not committed a significant misdemeanor or felony and have graduated from a U.S. high school or joined the military. They can apply for a renewable two-year work permit, which will not provide a path to citizenship but will allow them to work legally in the country. Applicants will have to prove they have lived in the country for five consecutive years. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the move “is the right thing to do,” and will help the agency focus on deporting criminals. “It is not immunity; it is not amnesty,” she said. “It is an exercise of discretion so that these young people are not in the removal system.”

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Immigration officials “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” and “have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”
Michael O'LoughlinFebruary 21, 2017
El sistema de libre empresa es compatible con nuestra preocupación por los desfavorecidos, escribe un economista y católico converso.
Arthur C. BrooksFebruary 21, 2017
The pope's emphasis on protecting undocumented workers is particularly significant for Europe and the United States, where the treatment of refugees and migrants has been a consistent challenge.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 21, 2017
With his 5,800-word manifesto on “Building Global Community,” the Facebook C.E.O. seems to be easing ever more into his role as benevolent dictator of the media universe.
Nathan SchneiderFebruary 21, 2017