Cross-posted from www.hias.org.
(New York, NY) — HIAS, the global migration agency of the American Jewish community, commends President Obama for his new policy for undocumented youth in the U.S. who would qualify for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin a process for granting “deferred action” to undocumented youth who are in the U.S. and would otherwise qualify for the version of the DREAM Act that passed the House of Representatives in December 2010. Eligible individuals—including but not limited to those who are currently in deportation proceedings—will be allowed to remain and work in the U.S.
It is estimated that 50,000 – 65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools each year; many of them were brought to the U.S. when they were very young and grew up in American schools, learning American values and experiencing American culture.
According to Mark Hetfield, HIAS President and CEO (Interim), “The bold move that President Obama has taken today will likely allow nearly one million DREAM-eligible students to stay in America with their families, in the country they call home. The youth of this country are an invaluable resource. We applaud the President for finally using the power that resides in his office to help them.”
HIAS remains a strong advocate for the DREAM Act, which would provide a six-year path to a green card for undocumented children brought to the U.S. more than five years ago if they graduate from high school and continue to college or military service. The DREAM Act would help break the cycle of under-employment, instability, and poverty endured by undocumented immigrants and could reduce dropout rates, criminal justice costs, and the need for public assistance. It would also reward good behavior by young people who, despite their circumstances, have worked hard and remained in school. Last December, despite bipartisan support from a majority of members of Congress, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the DREAM Act.
Learn more about the DREAM Act.