Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced Friday that effective immediately, young people who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents may not be deported.
Instead, work permits will be handed out on a case-by-case basis.
According to huffingtonpost.com, Napolitano told reporters the new policy does not equal a path to citizenship.
"This grant of deferred action is not immunity," she said. "It is not amnesty. It is an exercise of discretion so that these young people are not in the removal system. It will help us to continue to streamline immigration enforcement and ensure that resources are not spent pursuing the removal of low-priority cases involving productive young people."
A person must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for deffered action:
- Came to the United States when under 16;
- Have lived in the United States continuously for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Are not above the age of thirty.
Click here for more information from the Department of Homeland Security.
About 800,000 people are expected to initially come forward, the Associated Press reported Friday morning.