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EXERCISING PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION WITH RESPECT TO INDIVIDUALS WHO CAME TO THE UNITED STATES AS CHILDREN IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Our Nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner says Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees and a Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, released the following statement regarding Secretary Napolitano’s announcement that there will be a deferred action process for young people who are low enforcement priorities:

“I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“The following criteria should be satisfied before an individual is considered for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion pursuant to this memorandum:

1) came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
(2) has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of the memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum; (3) is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
(4) has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple
misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety;
(5)and is not above the age of thirty.

“Instead of punishing young people for actions taken on their behalf and beyond their control, this announcement would provide a fair process by which they could gain legal status. This announcement will enable the U.S. to retain some of its best and brightest young people. These individuals are no less worthy of pursuing the American Dream than you or I, yet their futures are being circumscribed by our current immigration laws. This is a move in the right direction.”

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