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Politics Behind the Student Deferment Program

October 22, 2012
Plain English Version

This past summer a “Deferment” program was created to protect young undocumented residents from deportation for two years. Thousands of younger people are applying for the program through a complex and costly application.

Behind the program is a years-long effort to help younger people known as “Dreamers.” A bill called the Dream Act created a path to citizenship for youths who finished college or served in the military. The bill did not pass.

A national movement to press for immigration reform started. It included marches, sit-ins, demonstrations and even hunger strikes all around the country. People in the movement faced arrest and deportation. As time went by, the effort grew larger and stronger.

Early last year, Dreamer groups met with the Secretary for Homeland Security. They wanted the Obama administration to stop deporting undocumented people with no criminal records. They wanted President Obama to use his executive power to give deferments to young people to stay in the country.

Their timing was good. It was a Presidential election year. Both parties wanted the support of Hispanic voters. A prominent Republican Senator From Florida said he could support reform that did not grant citizenship. The Department of Homeland Security finally approved the new deferment program.

It was a victory for Dreamers and the thousands of people who supported them. It also showed the power of political action.

Recently, Governor Romney said he would end the program if elected.

The Wall Street Journal

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