President Obama on Friday announced that illegal immigrants 30 and under who meet certain criteria will not be deported. The plan applies to approximately 800,000 young people currently in the United States.
The announcement immediately drew criticism from Republican leaders on Capitol Hill who saw it as political maneuver, designed only to gain favor with the Hispanic voting bloc. Some also suspected it was the first step toward tacitly allowing non-citizens to vote, given that the U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Florida to prevent it from removing non-citizens from voting rolls.
“This is yet another example of executive branch overreach,” Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., wrote on his Facebook page. “We have a legislative process that ensures representative governance by the consent of the American people. This action should be crafted into legislation, debated in committee and brought before the House and Senate for vote, with accordance of our Constitutional Republic way. (Homeland Security) Secretary (Janet) Napolitano is an unelected administrative bureaucrat who does not have the right to make governing decisions for this country.”
The executive order applies to noncitizens those 30 or under whose parents brought them to the U.S. before they were 16 years old and have been here at least five years. To qualify, they must also have no criminal record, either a high school diploma or equivalency degree, or have served in the military.
Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family’s senior vice president for government and public policy, said he was disappointed with the president’s actions.
“A quick fix in a contentious issue seems designed only for partisan advantage and will divide the country even further,” he said.
Minnery noted that the action will serve to break up families by targeting parents for deportation, while leaving young people behind to fend for themselves.
“Teenagers just out of high school, without intact families, are more likely to wind up dependent on the government,” he said. “This is no solution at all.”
Earlier this week, Focus on the Family announced principles for immigration reform that the ministry will support, given the forthcoming election and the possibility of new leadership in Washington and fresh incentives to fix the broken immigration system.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the “Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform.”