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Dramatic Shift in Immigration Policy

21 June 2012 No Comment
by Bill Chandler, Exec. Director
June 15, 2012


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




Roberta Avila

STEPS Coalition, Biloxi


Sanchoni Butler

United Auto Workers


Rev. Goyo de la Cruz

Hispanic Ministries, UMC, Southaven


Roberto Mena

UFCW Local 1529, Canton


Omy Gomez Morris

Canton Public Schools


Jaribu Hill

Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, Greenville


Elisa Reyes

Laborers Local 693, Laurel


Sorie Tarawally

Attorney, Jackson


Rev. Jeremy Tobin

Catholic Order of Premontre




Chokwe Lumumba, Esq.


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