Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined Connecticut students and community leaders at Neighbors Link Stamford, a non-profit organization that provides a comprehensive resource center for recent immigrants in the Stamford area, to praise the implementation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) June 15, 2012 directive. This directive allows certain young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children to receive deferred action -- a temporary two year-long reprieve from the threat of deportation.
Starting today, young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria, can apply for deferred action. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. This directive will potentially allow 9,370 individuals in Connecticut to receive deferred action.
"Today, thousands of young people across Connecticut who were brought here illegally can apply to stay and serve their state and nation," said Senator Blumenthal. "While this federal directive is a significant step forward -- providing temporary relief from the threat of deportation -- people should not be punished simply because they were brought here as infants or young children. The DREAM Act must remain our ultimate goal and I will keep fighting to ensure that it becomes law. I am proud to stand with aspiring Americans and their allies in the community to call for a permanent pathway to citizenship that brings certainty to their lives and strengthens this nation."
"The President made the right decision to end the horrendous practice of deporting young adults who were brought to this country as children and are now working to better their lives and our county," said Congressman Himes. "I am glad that the large number of DREAMers in my district will now be able to pursue their goals and careers. Allowing them to work will better enable them to give back to their communities and contribute to and improve our economy."
"Our lives change today. We began to come out as "undocumented and unafraid' in this great state two years ago. Since then, we have organized, agitated, and raised consciousness. We have fought for education equity to ensure that no DREAMer is discouraged from pursuing higher education," said Lorella Praeli, a policy coordinator for Somos Connecticut."Our stories and courage have brought temporary relief to DREAMers across the U.S. Today, our community rejoices in this great victory; undocumented youth and young adults will be protected from the threat of deportation and be eligible to apply for a work permit. To all the DREAMers who once felt deflated and excluded, America welcomes us today."
Blumenthal also reaffirmed his strong support of the Development Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would give young people who were brought to United States illegally as children a pathway to citizenship once they have completed two years of military service or higher education. Blumenthal has been a vocal advocate for the DREAM Act because it allows productive members of society to stay in the United States and serve the nation they call home.
Under the deferred action initiative, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case-by-case basis:
1.) Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2.) Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of the DHS memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of the DHS memorandum;
3.) Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4.) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5.) Are not above the age of thirty.