Today, President Barack Obama announced an executive order effective immediately that will protect undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought here as children from deportation for up to two years under a process called "deferred action," giving them time to obtain work permits. The new rule is expected to affect some 800,000 young people.
As the Houston Chronicle explains, though, the order only applies to immigrants who came here before age 16, don't have felonies or multiple misdemeanors, have lived in the United States for five years or more, and are enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or were honorably discharged from the military.
""This is not immunity. It is not amnesty. It is an exercise of discretion," Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary told the New York Times.
Nonetheless, criticism has been immediate -- before President Obama finished his news conference in the Rose Garden this afternoon, even.
"What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?" yelled a heckler, who appeared to be arguing with the president throughout his speech.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has chosen a subtler route, merely tweeting that Obama has decided to "stop deporting illegal immigrants."
We look forward to the reasonable, non-alarmist debate that will surely follow.
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