As had been the rumour all day, President Barack Obama made a major announcement this afternoon regarding the deportation of undocumented immigrant youth, reports the New York Times.
Citing fairness and justice, Obama said immigrants who moved to the U.S. illegally before they were 16 years old, are younger than 30 and have lived in the country for five years or more, will not be deported. Instead, they will have a chance at obtaining work permits.
Janet Napolitano, homeland security secretary, said upon announcing the measure, which will be effective immediately: “This is not immunity, it is not amnesty. (…) It is an exercise of discretion.”
This announcement comes just days before Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney visits Florida in an attempt to gather support from Hispanics, who overwhelmingly support Obama’s re-election bid. The president himself is also scheduled to visit the state in the coming days.
Florida Governor Marco Rubio, a Republican, had this to say about today’s announcement, according to the NYT:
There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own. But there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run.