Last week, the Homeland Security Department made headlines when it announced that renewal applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program were now being accepted and processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
As we've discussed on our blog before, President Barack Obama is currently facing intense criticism from multiple immigrant advocacy groups over the nearly two million deportations that have taken place during his time in office.
Both young people and immigrant advocacy groups alike cheered when President Obama announced the launch of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program back in 2012. For those unfamiliar with this program, it essentially enables those young people who satisfy certain conditions to live and work in the United States for two years, subject to renewal, and then perhaps be eligible for work authorization.
The Regents of the University of Michigan have just announced that, beginning in January, it will offer in-state tuition to all resident students regardless of immigration status. Michigan joins New York and 15 other states with policies providing access to higher education for immigrants in some form. Most of the policies were prompted in part to help unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children (referred to as "Dreamers") and have lived essentially as U.S. citizens all their lives, but who are often denied tuition help for college.
On what can be a rocky path to citizenship or a green card, many immigrants in the United States find creative and sometimes illegal ways to gain employment. From a legal perspective, this is not advisable, but the need to provide for one's family while striving for a better future is something most Americans would identify with. People from nations with governments that fail to provide for their citizens often find that immigration to the U.S. is the best possible option for happiness and prosperity.
It's not right that young, undocumented immigrants have to be told by their parents never to enter a hospital or an airport. It isn't right that people who came to the United States illegally when they were children have to live in constant fear of deportation. But that has been the reality for many young immigrants for most of their lives.