According to KHOU TV, thousands of young illegal immigrants lined up before the Mexican and El Salvadorian consulates in Houston to obtain passports and other documentation to apply for deferred action processing.
Young illegals can apply for deferred action on August 15
Aug. 15 is the first day that young illegals who meet certain criteria will be able to apply for deferred action. Illegal aliens who believe they qualify for the new policy are lining up at their national consulates, such as the ones in Houston, to get documentation. Illegals who were interviewed by KHOU express the hope that the new policy will allow them to live what they consider to be a normal life. Many have no memory of their native countries and have been raised as Americans.
Deferred action new Obama administration immigration policy
On June 15, according to the White House, President Obama announced a new policy that would "defer" enforcement of immigration laws against illegal immigrants who are under the age of 30, were brought across the border below the age of 16, and who meet other criteria. The president initiated this new policy by executive order due to what he claimed was the failure by Congress to pass a national DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would create a path to citizenship for illegal aliens who were brought across the border as children and who meet certain education and/or military service criteria. The new policy does not achieve all of the goals of the DREAM Act, but does lift, for the time being, the threat of deportation from young illegal aliens who are able to obtain documentation.
How one qualifies for deferred action
According to the White House blog, an illegal alien qualified under the new policy if they meet the following criteria:
"You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday
"You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time
"You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
"You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012
"You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained your certificate of completion from high school, have obtained your general educational development certification, or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
"You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat
"You were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS"
Application for deferred action
Once gathering the documents that prove that meet the required criteria, a young illegal will file a form with the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services along with a $465 processing fee, according to the White House. They will also be required to visit a local USCIS Application Support Center for a scheduled biometrics services appointment.
Criticism of the new policy
The criticism of the new policy usually goes along the lines of a piece by Bob Dane and Kristen Williams for the Federation for American Immigration Reform on the Fox News page, which suggests that "deferred action" is really amnesty for illegal aliens through the back door, bypassing the authority of Congress. As many as 2 million illegal aliens may fall under the new policy.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.