Today Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the leading and most senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, released the following statement in support of the Secretary of Homeland Security's announcement to use the Department's prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis to offer "deferred action" to undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children and can contribute to our nation through higher education or military service:
"I strongly commend President Obama and Secretary Napolitano for their decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis for certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only America as their home. This announcement builds on prior Administration efforts to prioritize the removal of dangerous criminals over DREAM Act students and others who pose no threat to our country.
"The President understands these are innocent young people who are American in every sense of the word, but who live in constant fear of deportation. The President's actions will provide temporary deferred action and give these young people the opportunity to live freely and contribute to the country they love.
"The action taken today is a sensible progression of the Administration's prosecutorial discretion initiative, which has sought to inject rationality into an otherwise dysfunctional immigration system. This announcement will further help law enforcement focus its limited resources on immigration priorities, such as those with criminal backgrounds who pose real threats to our communities. Prosecutorial discretion has been used by law enforcement and immigration agents to set enforcement priorities since the country's founding.
"By using its legal authority to provide temporary deferred action and enable young people to actively contribute to our society and economy, the Administration is addressing an issue that has broad bipartisan support and is giving Congress the breathing room it needs to fix our country's immigration laws. While the Administration's action is an important step forward, it does not replace the need for Congressional action. Today's announcement, for example, does not provide these young people with a path to citizenship, which would allow them to fully participate in the American Dream. The DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform are still national imperatives.
"I will work with the administration to ensure that today's announcement is implemented quickly and thoroughly across the country. I will also continue to work with my colleagues across the aisle to finally pass the DREAM Act, which has enjoyed bipartisan support since its introduction in 2001. Today is a giant step forward, but we still have a long way to go."