Obama to DREAMers: You Can Stay…For Now

June 15, 2012

Immigration Activists Demonstrate In Los Angeles
Immigrant students demonstrate for an end to deportations on June 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper,” President Obama stated today, in confirming that an order had been issued permitting some 800,000 DREAMers to remain in the country without fear of deportation and enabling them to seek employment. The President went on:

“Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.”

President Obama speaks about immigration
With the DREAM Act unable to gain traction in Congress, Obama announced on June 15, 2012 that his administration would stop deporting DREAM-eligible undocumented young people.

This is great news and a huge victory for DREAMers and their allies. Amnesty International activists in the tens of thousands have been lobbying their elected officials, and conducted hundreds of face-to-face meetings, urging the passing of the DREAM Act. Today we are celebrating with our DREAMer friends and fellow activists, but we are also preparing to redouble our efforts to get the 2011 DREAM Act passed.

We need to ensure that today’s victory is not merely a short-lived one. In reality the protections offered in today’s announcement could be reversed by a future administration, conceivably as early as 2013.

As President Obama said today, this is a stopgap measure. The new policy does not confer a path to permanent legal status, but only a two-year “deferred action” – with the possibility of extension – that temporarily relieves qualifying immigrants from the risk of deportation.

While Amnesty International welcomes this step forward because it provides immediate relief to DREAMers, their futures remain uncertain. In addition, millions of undocumented migrants fall outside the scope of the DREAM Act and we call on Congress and the administration to address other urgent issues facing migrant communities and undocumented individuals.

Amnesty International welcomes President Obama’s promise today to sign the DREAM Act into law. We urge Congress to urgently pass the 2011 DREAM Act and hold President Obama to his word.

To support the DREAM act:

  • Send a message to your senators and representative calling on them to support the DREAM Act in Congress, including by co-sponsoring the Act if they haven’t already done so.
  • Take the message to your members of Congress in person! Nothing moves elected officials more effectively than their constituents taking the time to raise their issues face-to-face. During our upcoming lobby week, July 1-8, Amnesty members across the country will be visiting their senators and representatives to urge them to support the DREAM Act and to raise other important human rights issues.
  • Learn more about the issue! Amnesty is supporting the DREAM Act because it advances the human rights of undocumented immigrants, including the right to education and the right to family unity. See our DREAM Act one-pager for more.

Now is the time to DREAM.