White House Announces Significant Change in Immigration Policy

President Obama announced important news on the issue of immigration about which the social justice and human rights community, including NASW, is excited. As reported today by most major media outlets:

“The Obama administration announced on Friday that it would no longer seek the deportation of most young illegal immigrants, a significant policy shift with potentially major electoral implications. The Department of Homeland Security said that, effective immediately, the government would no longer seek the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and would allow them to apply for work permits if they meet certain criteria.”

“A senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the shift represented neither immunity nor amnesty…. The shift essentially accomplishes many of the legislative intentions of the DREAM Act, an immigration reform bill that had stalled in Congress due to Republican objections. President Barack Obama favors the legislation, while presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he would veto that law.”*
Source: http://nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/15/12238794-obama-administration-wont-seek-deportation-of-young-illegal-immigrants?lite

This news is a significant action by the Administration towards immigration reform and represents the type of progressive social justice policy for which social workers have fought for many years. NASW feels this new immigration policy is a strong move in the right direction.

Related NASW Resources:

Immigration Policy Toolkit (2006-2008)

Impact of Immigration Detention on Children and Families (2011)

Social Workers Support Young Immigrants’ DREAMs (July 2010)

(Update 6/21: *Link to Video added for clarification)


  1. Article from Dec 31, 2011

    “Mitt Romney explicitly stated today that if he is elected president he would veto the Dream Act, legislation that would give permanent residency to some illegal immigrants who met certain criteria, such as having proof that they entered the country before age 16 or having a graduated from a U.S. high school.

    “The answer is yes,” said Romney, when asked if he’d veto the proposed legislation during a campaign stop at The Family Table restaurant in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday afternoon.”

    Here is a video where he said more about why he would veto the Dream act during the 2012 South Carolina GOP Debate: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/mitt-romney-dream-act-south-carolina-debate_n_1209539.html

  2. The media quote here is false. According to most news sources, Gov. Romney is considering a version of the DREAM Act that would make these youth legally present in our country, but not automatically grant them citizenship. Legal presence in the U.S. is a first step TOWARDS citizenship.

    Shame on you for printing this quote generalizing Republicans as being anti-immigration. Republicans and other conservatives want to help improve our paths to citizenship, without jeopardizing the safety of our citizens. We also want to eliminate the slave-trade created by our current situation of smuggling illegals into our country. How does that view violate NASW’s policy statement and Code of Ethics?

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