Today, President Barack Obama announced a new federal policy change that will prevent the deportation of and provide work permits for some undocumented immigrants who came to the country at a young age.
The policy is expected to affect about 800,000 people across the country. Republican lawmakers have criticized the announcement as an end-run around Congress, questioning its constitutionality.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the policy will apply -- on a case-by-case basis -- to undocumented immigrants who:
- came to the United States under age 16;
- are younger than 30;
- have continuously lived in the United States for at least five years; are enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate or are honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and
- have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors or pose a threat to national security.
Speaking at the White House, Obama said the change is aimed at people who were likely brought into the country by their parents, and in many cases did not know they were undocumented until they tried to apply for a job.
"Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people," he said.
The president insisted the policy was not amnesty, immunity, a path to citizenship or a "permanent fix" to the immigration system. He called it a "stop-gap measure" that gives "a degree of relief and hope to driven, patriotic young people."
"It's the right thing to do," he added.
How does the president's announcement sit with the residents of Orange County, the birthplace of the border vigilante group the Minuteman and a place that has seen its demography dramatically reshaped by immigration?
Is the new policy the right thing to do? What impact do you think it will have? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS.
—City News Service