President Obama has sensibly and responsibly used his executive powers to temper the deportation of younger illegal immigrants building productive lives in this country.
The announcement Friday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is not a pathway to citizenship, but the immunity from deportation recognizes the reality of young people brought to this country as infants and children.
Failure to act needlessly puts young illegal immigrants at risk, and squanders scarce federal resources on a narrow slice of immigration enforcement that yields no value for the country.
Nothing about this process is automatic. It would provide a waiver from deportation for applicants brought to this country before they were 16 and are younger than 30, have lived here for five years, have no criminal history, graduated from high school, earned a GED or served in the military.
This is the essence of legislation crafted as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, the DREAM Act. The measured passed the U.S. House in 2010 and perished in the U.S. Senate.
Verifiable documentation will be required of those who apply for waivers, but Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, says “This is huge.”