President Barack Obama’s recent announcement for undocumented youth has made headlines across the nation. The decision, made public in June 15, now allows illegal immigrants to stay and work in the United States as long as they don’t have any criminal history, have a high school diploma, and are 30 or younger, provides undocumented youth with more time to attain citizenship.
The White House’s June 15 announcement stated that the Department of Homeland Security will begin granting temporary work permits to some of those who are currently undocumented.
During the announcement, Obama explained that it “makes no sense to expel talented young people,” from the United States.
Obama’s decision has prompted more enthusiasm for the president’s immigration policies overall. A poll released by Latino Decisions on June 17 found that Latino voters who were surveyed were “very enthusiastic” about the new immigration policy. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed were reportedly more enthusiastic about the president following his announcement, while 34 percent of those surveyed said the declaration had no net effect on their feelings toward President Obama. Prior to the announcement, 53 percent of Latino voters surveyed stated they were less enthusiastic about Obama in 2012 than they were in 2009.
Although the proclamation provides a new lifeline for many undocumented young people who currently reside in the United States, the new policy is rather bittersweet for those individuals who were deported prior to the decision. While there are currently no statistics that classify deported individuals by their age or education level, The Associated Press recently featured the stories of many individuals who were deported mere months before Obama’s announcement. Yannick Grijalba, an 18-year-old native of Guatemala, was deported on June 13 – two days before the Obama made his declaration.
“When I was watching the news today and heard, I just couldn’t believe it,” Grijalba told the AP during an interview from Guatemala City. “I had to turn the TV off.”