Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama Administration to Halt Deportation of Dream Act Youths // Marylanders Respond, Plan White House Rally at 2 pm TODAY

UPDATE: At 1:15 pm today, President Obama will host a press conference to discuss this groundbreaking policy shift. You can watch it online [HERE].

Maryland politicos are abuzz with news that the Obama Administration's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced new leniency measures for young undocumented residents (Hat tip: MoCo Council Vice President Nancy Navarro). DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a memo today (see text below) indicating that Dream Act eligible students would now be allowed to apply for lawful residency and would not be priorities for deportation. The move comes days after the President's visit to Baltimore, Maryland, where dozens of residents called on the President to endorse the Maryland Dream Act. While in Baltimore, Obama stated:
BARACK OBAMA: “It’s time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they are children of” undocumented immigrants, Obama said. “This country is at its best when it harnesses the God-given talents of every individual.”

CRITERIA FOR ELIGIBILITY: Three days after his visit to Baltimore, Obama has doubled down on his words with real action. See the DHS memo below, along with response from Maryland politicos. The halt to deportations applies to individuals who meet the following criteria:
  1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Are not above the age of thirty.

CELEBRATORY RALLY AT THE WHITE HOUSE AT 2 PM TODAY: Immigration reform advocates are planning a celebratory rally outside the White House at 2 pm today to hail the landmark decision by the Obama Administration:
Press Release from Casa de Maryland

WHERE:    Rally to Celebrate
WHEN:      Friday, June 15, 2012, 2:00pm
WHERE:   Lafayette Plaza, across the White House on 16th Street, between Pennsylvania Ave. and H Street.
WHO:         Community, faith, and labor organizations, DREAMers

Washington, DC – Community, student, labor, and political leaders will gather at 2pm in an impromptu rally to celebrate President Obama’s announcement that his administration will be granted deferred action and work permits to DREAMers – young people who grow up in this country, study hard, play by the rules, and contribute to our communities.

“The President has heard the cry for relief from every state in the country, parents and principals, nuns and union activists, and most importantly from DREAMers themselves,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland.  “President Obama has heard the need for change and he has acted....”

“We have battled for reform and we have won,” said Yves Gomes, a DREAM activist and CASA member.  “I definitely feel like this shows that our country is headed in the right direction,” said Mr. Gomes.

Press Release from Educating MD Kids
White House To Announce New Policy Protecting DREAM Act Eligible Students from Deportation, Providing Work Permits 
 Maryland DREAM Act needed more than ever to prepare DREAMers for workforce

Today President Obama will announce a directive protecting all DREAM Act eligible students across the country from deportation and providing them with work permits.  These students are talented, hardworking kids who’ve grown up in the United States and want to contribute to our nation but don’t have legal immigration status.  

The announcement clears the way for students here in Maryland and states across the country to legally work in the U.S. and reinforces the need for Maryland to uphold its Maryland DREAM Act, allowing all Maryland students who graduated from Maryland high schools and whose families pay Maryland taxes to pay in-state tuition at Maryland public universities.

“The White House’s announcement on DREAM Act eligible students is a huge victory for the thousands of kids who’ve worked hard, played by the rules, and want to give back to the only country they know as home,” said Travis Tazelaar, campaign manager for Educating Maryland Kids. “The decision reaffirms the need for Maryland to pass its own DREAM Act, ensuring that these talented kids can pay in-state tuition at our state universities and build the skills needed to contribute and grow our economy.”

The Department of Homeland Security directive underscores the need for DREAM Act eligible young people, who’ve lived in this country for at least 5 years and graduated from high school, to be able to further their education and prepare for the workforce.  The Maryland DREAM Act allows Maryland DREAMers to pay the same in-state tuition rates as their peers and with the new directive, these students will be able to legally work while they obtain their degree and pursue a career after graduation.

Earlier this week President Obama said, “It’s time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they are children of undocumented immigrants.  This country is at its best when it harnesses the God-given talents of every individual.”


Obama Administration DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano Announces New Policy for Dream Act Students

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