Today is finally a dream come true for many undocumented immigrants living in the United States who escaped from their home countries to make a better life here in this country. Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano officially announced that the DHS has a new policy to grant relief from removal to certain undocumented immigrants, those individuals who entered the United States without authorization, so long as they meet all of the following criteria:
- The person must have entered the United States while under age the age of sixteen;
- Must have continuously lived in the United States for at least five years before today’s date, and were present in the United States on today’s date;
- Must be currently in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED certificate, or have an honorable discharge of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces;
- Must not have a felony conviction, a significant misdemeanor conviction, multiple misdemeanor convictions, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Must not be above thirty years of age.
DHS said it will look at each person’s set of circumstances on a case by case basis.
Napolitano said the department will enforce U.S. immigration law in a firm and sensible manner, but she also added that DHS will not blindly enforce the law without giving consideration to each person’s individual circumstances. It should not be DHS policy to remove young people from the United States who are productive and send them back to countries where they may not have lived in very long and may not even be able to understand the language, she said.
In addition to relief from removal, those who qualify will receive work authorization as well.