By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ) issued a written statement Friday praising President Barack H. Obama’s announcement that illegal aliens younger than 30, who have been in the U.S. for five consecutive years and have a high school diploma or GED or military service and no criminal record will be granted two year stays of deportation and will be allowed to apply for work permits to remain in the county and obtain legal residency.
The ACIJ’s Victor Palofax said, “This is huge. This is an enormous victory for kids all across America. I want to thank President Obama and all the DREAMers for bringing us to this moment. A million young people’s lives have been transformed today because of this. A million kids are now safe to pursue their dreams.”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D) from Selma said that she supported the President’s decision as well. On Facebook the Freshman U.S. Congress Member said, “I stand with President Obama and I applaud and support his leadership on immigration today.”
Mr. Palofax said, “Today’s decision is a big step in the right direction, and lawmakers across Alabama and the nation should follow President Obama’s lead and begin work on positive solutions that address the needs of the millions of immigrants living in America,” continued Victor Palofax.
The ACIJ said in their release that the decision by the President: “stands in strong contrast to the direction Alabama’s Republican leadership have taken the state with HB 56 and HB 658 – known as the nation’s harshest anti-immigrant law.”
The new rules changes were announced by Secretary Janet Napolitano and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
President Obama spoke to reporters in the Rose Garden shortly afterwards. President Obama said, “Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.”
The President said, “it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans — they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country — to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents — or because of the inaction of politicians.”
The President went on to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) which would give the undocumented youth legal residency and put them on a path towards American citizenship.
The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice opposes the mass deportation of illegal immigrants and supports the repeal of Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration law, the Beason Hammons Alabama Citizens and Taxpayers Protection Act (HB56/HB658).
To learn more about the ACIJ visit their website:
To read President Obama’s comments in their entirety: