As many as 800,000 young immigrants could avoid deportation under a new policy President Barack Obama plans to announce Friday, granting work permits to those who entered the country illegally as children. As The Associated Press reports, the executive move effectively implements much of the DREAM Act, a piece of federal legislation long debated in Congress, that would "establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military." Obama is expected to announce the new policy in a 1:15 p.m. Rose Garden address.
In the meantime, AP has a basic rundown of how it would work:
Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The officials who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it in advance of the official announcement.
The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods.
Update (10:45 a.m. EDT): The latest version of the AP's story says the plan "tracks closely to a proposal offered by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as an alternative to the DREAM Act." You can read more about Rubio's proposal in The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report.