The historic announcement made by President Barack Obama on suspending the deportation of eligible young undocumented immigrants and granting them work permits, has triggered both: severe criticism, and enthusiastic support.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Friday that he will sue the Obama administration to halt implementation of its new immigration decree.
“I’m prepared to bring a suit and seek a court order to stop implementation of this policy,” King said on a radio interview with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the measure a ‘short-term fix,’ although, for the first time, he also sent some signs of support for legislation that would allow some illegal immigrants to temporarily stay in the country.
"I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country," Romney said in a campaign stop at Milford, New Hampshire.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA,) welcomed the immigration policy move.
“We knew you could, Mr. President. Americans will look back on this day with pride and joy when they allowed these young people to fully contribute to the growth, prosperity, and strength of our great nation,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA’s Executive Director.
Also in Los Angeles, Immigrant students and supporters rallied to celebrate the Obama administration decision.
“Today we see a major shift in the Obama Administration's commitment towards civil rights and social justice for immigrant families and undocumented youth. President Obama is finally delivering part of the hope he promised during his presidential campaign by granting administrative relief to undocumented youth,” said Justino Mora, Dream (Act) campaign student leader.
With the clock ticking for Election Day, analysts say Obama utilized his executive powers authorizing the measure, bypassing Congress, as an attempt to attract the indecisive vote within the immigrant electorate.
The immigration policy change is expected to benefit at least 800,000 people. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release stating that applicants will be granted the two-year stay under certain conditions.
•Any foreign-born children who came to the U.S. age 16 years or younger and who have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years
•They must not have been convicted of a felony offense or of multiple misdemeanor offenses or pose a threat to national security
•The policy extends to those in school, or high school graduates, or those with a GED or equivalent, or have been in military service with an honorable discharge
•Cannot be above the age of 30
Part of the statement reads, “DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted.” The release also says that although “this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days.”