Barack Obama announced that some illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children will be allowed to work legally in the country on Friday June 15, as first reported by the Associated Press.
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The new policy will allow illegal immigrants aged 16 to 30 years old who have been living in the country for five years or more to apply for conditional work permits that will last two years.
Some of the conditions that are taken into consideration for the permit include criminal history, level of education and military experience.
Illegal immigrants with high school educations or higher and a clean criminal record are eligible for the new policy.
The two year expiration attached to the permits can be extended indefinitely.
This decree also means that the Department of Homeland Security will not be pursuing deportation cases as fervently as before, especially for younger immigrants.
However, since this move is a presidential order it could be easily cancelled if Obama is not elected again in November.
Various news sources and blogs are buzzing about the motivations, advantages and disadvantages of Obama’s decision, typically divided by party lines.
Liberal groups have collectively given a sigh of relief as this decree closely resembles the previously proposed, but never passed, DREAM Act.
The move to allow some illegal immigrants to work in the United States freely is also being analyzed as a savvy political move aimed at shoring up support for the upcoming presidential election and allying Hispanic voters with democrats.
Republican leaders have voiced opinions ranging from general assent to criticizing the decision for bypassing the democratic process.
Though nothing about the policy change is illegal, it is subject to review by the United States Congress.
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics estimates the number of illegal immigrants to be 11.5 million in 2011 a very slight decrease from 2010.
The number of illegal immigrants in the United States is of some concern to various interest groups in the Southwest.