In a conference call with reporters a short time ago to expound upon the Obama administration’s decision to defer enforcement action against young illegal immigrants determined to not be security risks, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the new policy is not amnesty.
“I believe this action is the right thing to do,” Napolitano said, adding that immigration laws “are not designed to be blindly enforced nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may have not lived or speak the language.”
“This is not immunity, this is not amnesty; it is an exercise of discretion,” she said, saying the prosecutorial discretion “which is used in so many other areas is especially justified here.”
“I continue to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act and re-examine our immigration system as a whole,” Napolitano said. “We should not forget that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”
The new guidelines are effective immediately but a framework to handle the deferred action applications won’t be in place for about 60 days.
Stay tuned for the full story on today’s announcement, including details from administration officials on the policy, President Obama’s remarks this afternoon in the Rose Garden, and congressional reaction.