Opinion: New immigration policy

The Miami Herald on new immigration policy, from Aug. 20, 2012:

After years of crushing disappointment, young people born elsewhere but raised in this country without benefit of proper documentation have an opportunity to relieve the anxiety and desperation that comes with living with the perpetual fear of deportation. A change in immigration policy that went into effect recently offers them a two-year reprieve from summary expulsion.

The decision will provide temporary work permits for undocumented immigrants who arrived in this country before the age of 16 if they have graduated from high school, served in the military or earned a G.E.D.; have no felony convictions; and have lived in the United States for at least five years.

The initiative amounts to a measure of progress in their efforts to gain a legal foothold in this country. As such, it is a welcome and long-sought step forward, the first sign of rationality in what up to now has been an illogical and morally reprehensible process designed to punish individuals for the actions of their parents.

The change comes after years of relentless prodding by immigration advocacy groups that would not let the nation's chief executive evade all responsibility for inaction on immigration reform. Congress is the principal culprit in the paralysis over comprehensive reform, but President Barack Obama had to be convinced — or pressured — to make a decision that all along was well within his purview.

Despite claims to the contrary by critics, the president did not unilaterally enact the Dream Act with a stroke of his pen. In fact, the change in policy does not even amount to an executive order, and it stops far short of providing a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants brought to this country as minors by their parents. It doesn't offer the coveted "green card" or federal financial aid for education, but rather provides an avenue of redress for people who have been treated unfairly. ...

Online:

http://www.miamiherald.com

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