President Barack Obama made significant changes to the country's immigration policies on Friday that will provide illegal immigrants under the age of 30 the opportunity to remain in the country, as well as maintain a job, if they do not have a criminal record.
The changes are geared towards illegal immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States as children. Immigrants that came to the U.S. before the age of 16 that have no criminal record will be able to apply for a work permit and will not be deported.
They will also become eligible to apply for deferred action on deportation for a two-year period.
Obama gave a speech from the White House on Friday, in which he stated, "It's the right thing to do."
Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa released the following statement on Friday:
“By ending the deportation of certain young immigrants and making them eligible to work in this country, President Obama has taken a bold step in the direction of a more humane and more sensible immigration policy. His action today upholds some of America’s most cherished values: our belief in opportunity and fairness and our tradition of openness and inclusion. Crucially with his decision, the President has also protected young immigrants, many of whom have been here since they were infants and have spent their whole lives in this country. Instead of fearing deportation, instead of facing the prospect of being separated from their loved ones, hundreds of thousands of young people can now do what generations of their predecessors have done. They can contribute their energy and enthusiasm and their dreams and determination to their new home and help drive the future prosperity and growth of the United States.
After an extended and frustrating impasse in our national immigration debate, President Obama has led the way and pointed us in the right direction. But this is only a first step and much still needs to be done. Now it is up to Congress. Let’s expand the circle of opportunity even more and finally pass the DREAM ACT. Let’s finally achieve comprehensive immigration reform.”
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