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Villaraigosa: deferred action will allow young people "to contribute mightily"

Undocumented Unafraid

Mae Ryan/KPCC

President Obama's proposal that would allow young people who were children when they were brought to America illegally to stay in the country was backed today by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

News that certain young people who live in the country illegally will now be allowed to stay in America was welcomed today by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who told CNN they will, “contribute mightily to the nation.” 

President Obama announced earlier today that young people who were brought to the country illegally before the age of 16, who have lived here for five years, who do not pose a security threat, and who have enrolled in school or the military will be able to apply for deferred action. 

Villaraigosa, an Obama supporter and chair of the Democratic National Convention, backs the plan.

“Look, we’re using our prosecutorial discretion here to say that the kids who have been here – many of them came as infants, they’ve lived here their whole life,” Villaraigosa said in an interview with CNN.

“They know no other country. They often times can’t speak the language of their parents. They have an opportunity to stay here free of the threat of deportation if they go to school or serve in the military. This is a great thing.” 

Still, the mayor called for proposals that will provide more long-term solutions to illegal immigration.

“The best thing Democrats and Republicans can do is have this debate in the Congress. Let’s pass the Dream Act, let’s pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Villaraigosa said.

The mayor’s remarks were made from Florida where he is attending a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, of which he is the president. 

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