District Attorney Jeff Rosen made a bold step last summer when he announced a new policy that would stop deporting illegal immigrants charged with a crime as long as they aren’t considered a threat to public safety.
Rosen said he established the options to prevent families from being separated, whereas his predecessor, Dolores Carr, saw the issue of deportation as more black and white.
Almost a year later, President Obama went a step further, announcing Friday that his administration would end the deportation of some illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. Obama’s announcement allows illegal immigrants younger than 30 who came to the country before the age of 16, and are not considered a criminal or dangerous threat and were successful students or served in the military, to apply for a two-year deportation deferral.
The issue will be a focal point in the presidential race, as Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, opposes the DREAM ACT, which would improve the immigration status for individuals brought into the country as children.
Romney said that Obama’s action is only temporarily, calling it a “short term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents.”
Obama’s comments similarly noted that an executive order is not permanent. “This is not amnesty,” he said, according to the New York Times. “This is ton immunity. This is not a path to citizenship, not a permanent fix.”
An administration official told CNN the new policy could potentially affect 800,000 people in the United States.