Immigration reform starts February 18th

Diaz-Balart slams unhelpful executive action on immigrationApplications for protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were minors via the new immigration plan created by President Obama’s executive action will be accepted from February 18th. The first part of the president’s plan is to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) scheme, which is what the Republican Party is desperately trying to stop.

The Republicans have declared they will do everything in their power to prevent Obama’s immigration reform, though it remains to be seen whether they can do very much at all. The current funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the provision to block the president’s executive action, will undergo a vital test vote tomorrow in the Senate; however, it seems doomed to failure, not least because the president has promised to veto the bill even in the unlikely event that it passes through the Senate.

Last fall Obama made a promise to give temporary relief from deportation to up to five million undocumented immigrants after the repeated failure of Congress to do anything at all with regard to this issue.

Expanding deferred action, which already has over half a million young immigrants enrolled in the program, is the first part of the president’s plan. Unlike the 2012 action, the new DACA program does not have an age limit provided that the undocumented immigrants concerned came to the United States before the age of 16 and have remained in the country since the start of 2010.