Do you think the reporter went too far interrupting President Obama?
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of a growing Latino electorate that has opposed administration deportation policies.
The administration's decision will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants.
“My Dad just called me," said Elli Garcia of Apopka. "Where he works, he was so excited because everyone that works in there, either their sons or daughter are in the same situation as I am."
Garcia is 22 years old and originally from Mexico. She will be able to take advantage of the president’s new order.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the decision would be based on the following criteria:
- Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- Has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- 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;
- 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; and
- Is not above the age of thirty.
Speaking from the Rose Garden of the White House, President Obama said the new policy was about keeping the focus immigrants who need to be deported, instead of young people who are in the country through no fault of their own and contribute to the country.
“I’m really excited for these young people and emotional. It’s been a long struggle and it’s about time,” said Sister Ann Kendrick of the Hope Community Center in Apopka.
Kendrick works full-time with many illegal immigrants and farm workers.
“I don’t think it’s just a political ploy because illegals don’t have political power. They don’t vote. They’re not registered voters,” Kendrick said. “I think Obama is doing it because it is truly the right thing to do.”
The president says it "makes no sense to expel talented young people'' who are essentially Americans. He says he was taking the action in the absence of action by Congress "to fix our broken system.''
The president was referring to the DREAM Act, which would allow young people to stay in the country. That bill was blocked in Congress, despite bipartisan support. The president says the move does not, however, lead to a path toward citizenship.
The president's decision drew criticism from a member of the White House press corp. A reporter from a right-wing website interrupted the president in the middle of his speech, asking "Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?"
The president angrily told the reporter that he shouldn't ask questions until the president had finished talking. At the end of the speech he came back to the reporter, telling him simply, "it's the right thing to do."
The president then left without answering any more questions.
Republicans, meanwhile, say the move circumvents the Constitution. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, issued the following statement:
“There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run.
“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short term answer to a long term problem. And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.