In a bold stroke, the Obama administration has ordered an end to deportations of young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The order also allows those with no criminal history to seek work permits.
The decision could affect 800,000 immigrants under 30 years old, mostly Hispanics.
The initiative goes a large way to meeting the desire of Hispanic communities for a so-called Dream Act that would grant young undocumented Latinos a pathway to citizenship. It promises to be a significant measure in an election year in which Latino voters could prove crucial in key swing states – some 500,000 new voters are created every year when legal Hispanic youths turn 18.
The breaking news of the change in policy was received ecstatically by Latino and progressive organisations. “This is a bold move, a smart move by the White House. It relates to the most decent, innocent undocumented folks in this country and we applaud the president’s initiative,” said Angela Kelley, an immigration expert at the Center for American Progress.