Dramatic Shift in Immigration Policy
The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance applauds the announcement by the Obama Administration that it will grant deferred action to undocumented youth who were brought to the United States as small children and who have been raised and educated in communities around the country.
This policy change will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also by-passes Congress and partially achieves the goals of the DREAM Act, which began as a bi-partisan proposal over a decade ago that included Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), Utah, as a co-author. When brought up for a vote it passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but was blocked by parliamentary maneuvers, despite 55 Senators supporting it.
Under the administration plan, undocumented youth will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are no older than 30 (up to and including people 30 years of age), have been in the country for at least 5 continuous years, have no criminal history, enrolled in school or graduated from a U.S. high school, earned a GED, or served in the military. They will also be able apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.
This announcement builds on the prosecutorial discretion initiatives already taken by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security. It was done to ensure that young people do not fall through the cracks, that resources are used wisely, and that humanitarian factors are considered when enforcing our immigration laws.
Deferred action is not permanent legal status or citizenship, but rather a way to allow those young people, who have been in this country since they were young, to complete their education, continue military service or begin their careers.
Many undocumented youth in Mississippi, a high percentage of our immigrant population, have started businesses that have contributed to the $1.8 billion in receipts and sales generated by immigrant enterprises. They and their families’ economic activity contribute nearly $3 billion in purchasing power to Mississippi’s economy, according to the Immigration Policy Institute. This policy change may well help further build the economy and the educational growth so badly needed in our state.
For further information contact: Bill Chandler, Exec. Director, 601-968-5182
Bill Chandler, Executive Director
Kathy Sykes, Lead Organizer
Mary K. Green, Development Coordinator
L. Patricia Ice, Director, Legal Project
Rev. Sally Bevill, Paralegal
Jennifer Spann, Office Assistant
Rep. Jim Evans, President
Member, Mississippi House of
Representatives, AFL-CIO & SCLC
Frank Curiel, Vice-President
Laborers International Union, LA
Dr. Ivory Phillips, Secretary
Jackson State University
Brenda R. Scott, Treasurer
MASE/CWA, Local 3570
STEPS Coalition, Biloxi
United Auto Workers
Rev. Goyo de la Cruz
Hispanic Ministries, UMC, Southaven
UFCW Local 1529, Canton
Omy Gomez Morris
Canton Public Schools
Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, Greenville
Laborers Local 693, Laurel
Rev. Jeremy Tobin
Catholic Order of Premontre
MIRA LEGAL COUNSEL
Chokwe Lumumba, Esq.