Friday, June 15, 2012


The announcement today by Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security, granting assistance to young immigrants who were brought to this country as minors, is welcome news!  I welcome this news because I have met and worked with countless young people who will benefit from this change.

Some 800,000 young men and women could qualify for the new policy which removes them from the fear of deportation and allows them to obtain work permits. 

We are all winners with this new policy!  The young people are encouraged to finish their high school education, go to college, or join the military services.  Obviously, they must remain active and contributing members of society, avoid any criminal activity, and continue to help our nation grow and provide opportunity for everyone.

This policy shift to move these young people away from deportation to fuller assimilation in our society is taking place precisely because Congress has refused to deal with the plight of some 11.5 million immigrants living in our midst.  Political partisanship has resulted in legislative stalemate.  In a special way, our youngest immigrants have been made to suffer.

Activists and Dreamers watch President Obama's speechFriday afternoon
at the headquarters of the New York Immigration Coalition.
(Photo: Justin Mitchell)
The best avenue forward for all of us would be for Congress to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of all our immigrant peoples and to develop a more comprehensive solution.

Some will object and say that this is amnesty.  It is not.  It is a special enforcement policy which recognizes our futile handcuffing of young immigrant men and women who are eager and anxious to participate fully in the life of our country, and whose only "failure" was in being brought to this country as minors.

I am hopeful that all eligible young immigrants will sign up for this new policy shift, will pursue their education with renewed vigor, will serve our country with new enthusiasm, and will prove once again that as a nation of immigrants we do not fear them, but we welcome them and walk with them on their journeys.