Children of illegal immigrants finally given a chance
BY World's Editorial Writers
Friday, August 17, 2012
8/17/12 at 10:55 AM
Children of illegal immigrants, most of whom were brought to the United States very young, have lived under a cloud of insecurity for most of their lives. Wednesday they got their chance to take a step toward legal status and they came out by the thousands.
In June, President Obama issued an executive order that grants a two-year reprieve from deportation to illegal immigrants under the age of 31 and who arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16. They also must have no criminal record and have earned a high school diploma, remained in school or served in the U.S. military.
Obama made his decision after the long-awaited and controversial Dream Act again stalled in Congress.
The president's decision could affect as many as 1 million young people. Obama has been criticized for pandering to the Hispanic vote during an election year. There might be some truth to that but his decision is, nevertheless, good policy.
Most of these young people were unaware of violating any law when they came to the U.S. Most have grown up as Americans, making friends, speaking the language, going to school and working. They are as much American as anyone born here.
There are some issues with Obama's decision. It is good for only two years. And, if Obama is not re-elected the order is likely to be rescinded, leaving thousands of young people in limbo, or worse.
Evidently, it is a chance thousands of young Hispanics are willing to take, given the turnout Wednesday.
These young people deserve the chance to be a part of their adopted country, the only country they have known. They can make a contribution. Congress ought to finally find the guts to rebuke the radicals and pass the Dream Act and reform immigration law.
Original Print Headline: A chance
Illegal immigrants wait outside the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights offices in Los Angeles Wednesday as the U.S. started accepting applications to allow them to avoid deportation. DAMIAN DOVARGANES/Associated Press