Starting today, around two million young illegal immigrants will be able to apply for a two-year reprieve from deportation and the right to legally work and live in the United States--an initiative that President Obama proposed on June 15. This initiative, to be clear, isn't the constantly stalemated DREAM Act, and is officially called the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals", or "deferred action", or as The Washington Post's Steve Hendrix prefers, "Dream Act-Like." No matter what you call it, this massive change in immigration policy allows young illegal/undocumented (specific requirements can be found here) immigrants who are willing to pay $465 to obtain a work permit and temporarily avoid deportation. The government continued to stress that this program wouldn't lead to citizenship or travel abroad. "On Tuesday, officials surprised advocacy groups by posting the application forms online one day early," writes Hendrix (the forms can be found here). And though news outlets all around the country are reporting on very personal stories of hope, this act, of course, is ripe with political grandstanding. "With unemployment at 8.3 percent, it's unconscionable that the Obama administration's amnesty program actually requires illegal immigrants to apply for work authorization in the U.S.," House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith wrote in a statement picked up by the San Antonio Express News. Smith represents a district which covers San Antonio and Austin "This undercuts the 23 million unemployed or underemployed Americans"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.