Now that the Obama administration has announced it will grant deferred action to certain young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors, their long-term fate is no longer as precarious as it's been throughout their lives here so far. But that's not to say it's no longer uncertain.
Deferred action is just that: the deferment of removal action, or deportation. It is not a path to permanent legal status, let alone citizenship. Here is how it's described on the Homeland Security website:
Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an alien granted deferred action will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.
Under existing regulations, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion or renewed by the agency.
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.