Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement on the Obama Administration's announcement of a deferred action policy for undocumented youth who came to the United States as children and meet certain criteria. Effective immediately, those age 30 or younger who came to the United States under the age of 16 and meet other qualifications, will not face immediate deportation but will be granted deferred action and be eligible to apply for work permits.
In 2011, Cantwell joined 21 other Senators in urging President Obama to consider this change in deportation policy.
"President Obama's decision today will help provide clarity for individuals here in America, and provide a reliable workforce for numerous sectors of our economy," Cantwell said today. "This is a step in the right direction to allow young students, recent graduates and military members to continue to give back to the American communities in which they were raised. We are glad President Obama heeded our call while Congress continues to work toward a broader legislative solution."
Cantwell is an original cosponsor of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which was introduced on May 11, 2011. The DREAM Act would provide undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children with a pathway to legal residency, provided they are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or have enlisted in the military. The DREAM Act was originally introduced with strong bipartisan support by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in 2001.
Cantwell was also a cosponsor of the DREAM Act during the 111th Congress. The legislation passed the House on December 8, 2010, in a bipartisan 216 to 198 vote, but it failed by a 55-41 vote to pass the Senate on December 18, 2010. Cantwell voted in support.