President Obama will stop deporting undocumented youth who are eligible for the federal DREAM Act, the Associated Press reported.
This class of immigrants will also be granted access to work permits, as well, but not citizenship. The order is expected to impact up to 800,000 young people.
The announcement comes after over a year of demands from community including a week of actions during which undocumented youth staged sit-ins in Obama’s campaign offices demanding exactly this kind of action. Despite Obama’s support for the federal DREAM Act, a legalization bill for a select portion of the country’s undocumented youth, in the two years since its failure in Congress Obama has continued to deport those who would be eligible for the bill, activists argued. Activists pressured Obama, as the November election nears, to grant relief to young undocumented immigrants as some measure of proof that Obama’s immigration record would include more than his current distinction of having deported more people in his one term than any other president.
The DREAM Act would allow youth who grew up in the country, commit at least two years to the military or higher education and clear a host of other hurdles to become eligible for citizenship down the line.