Young illegal immigrants in the United States will soon be able to receive work permits to stay in the United States. President Obama’s administration announced a plan on Friday which should help him win over influential Latino electorate voters who were upset over the record number of deportations that occurred in 2011.
The new move is meant to partially achieve the goal of the DREAM Act who has long-sought to push immigrants towards full citizenship in the United States if they have served in the US military or attended college in the United States.
The announcement comes just one week before President Obama is set to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials at their annual conference in Orlando, Florida.
The new plan would grant legal status to any illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and would only apply if they requested citizenship before the age of 30. The plan also requires that those immigrants have already been in the United States for five years and have no criminal history. Applicants must also hold a U.S. high school diploma or have acquired their GED. Military service will also allow for the quick path towards legalization in the U.S.
Illegal immigrants that meet those requirements will also have the option to apply for a 2-year work permit that will have no limitations on how many times it can be renewed.
The Obama administration is quick to point out that the plan does not provide for citizenship but removes the threat of deportation while allows for legal work status in the United States.
President Obama in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last month was found to be leading Romney 61 percent to 27 percent.
The move although arriving conveniently in an election year has been a long time in the making, in 2011 Obama said his department would focus on the deportation of only serious criminals and immigrants who post a threat to national security.
The new plan may also allow for a reprieve for immigrants currently awaiting deportation in immigration court. ICE will begin dealing with such cases in 60 days.
At this time it is still unclear how the program will work and what fees immigrants will have to pay in order to apply for a continued work visa.