President Obama made a controversial decision on illegal immigration Friday, one that already has drawn strong opposition in Gwinnett County.
In an election-year policy change, the Obama administration said Friday that it will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements, CNN.com reported.
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The shift on the politically volatile issue drew immediate praise from Latino leaders who have criticized Congress and the White House for inaction. Republicans reacted with outrage, saying the move amounts to amnesty.
Also, the move drew strong opposition Friday from U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, whose district includes Suwanee. Gwinnett County's 805,000 residents includes many immigrants.
"With today's decree, President Obama demonstrates the same contempt for America's laws that those who enter illegally do," Woodall told the Gwinnett Daily Post. "He is undermining the balance of power laid out by the U.S. Constitution ... and advancing his election year politics at the expense of the American economy and the American people's trust."
However, Hank Johnson, Gwinnett's other congressman, took a different view.
"President Obama's important action is a small but highly significant step toward a humane policy on immigration that recognizes the realities of today's world," Johnson told the Gwinnett Daily Post.
In his announcement Friday, 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.
Now, let's be clear. This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary, stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. It is the -- it is the right thing to do."