MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously on Friday to support President Obama’s federal immigration policy allowing undocumented youth to remain in the U.S., becoming the first city in the country to do so.
By supporting the policy in the City’s federal agenda, Minneapolis is recommending that the Department of Homeland Security implement the immigration policy with the broadest, most-inclusive language, ensuring that wide participation by all those who are eligible.
City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren whole-heartedly supports Obama’s policy.
“I applaud President Obama for doing the right thing and allowing hundreds of thousands of young people to continue working toward achieving the American dream,” said Lilligren. “This new policy will allow thousands of new immigrants to remain in Minneapolis, to be successful and help our city thrive. This action brings hope to so many people in our city and country.”
Approximately 5,000 to 27,000 people in Minnesota will be able to submit an application to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service for “Deferred Action” in mid-August.
If applicants are approved, they will be eligible for a work permit, a social security number, and some protection against being deported. Applications will need to be renewed every two years.
Elizabeth Glidden , City Council member and chair of the Intergovernmental Relations subcommittee, see the vital importance of this policy in Minneapolis.
“Minneapolis is a vibrant and diverse city that welcomes all its new arrivals, and that’s why so many people in our community care about this issue,” said Glidden. “Many of these new arrivals come to Minneapolis as children, and it’s important that they’re able to continue their education, get a job, and build a better future, both for themselves and for this country.’
One of those who came to Minnesota as a child was Juve Meza.
Meza came to the U.S. when he was 15 years old. He’s now 24, and he’s grateful for the president’s policy and for the Minneapolis leaders who support it.
Meza said that for a while he was worried about being deported.
“But as a young person who has been involved in the Dream Act for a long time, I’ve built enough courage to be involved in this,” he said.
In general, he said, there are those who live in fear.
“The fear is that of being pulled over, things like that,” he said.
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced the Department of Homeland Security will stop deporting some young immigrants.
Meza said the recent change in policy will help his friends feel safe leaving school and moving into the workforce.
Eligibility for a deferred action is dependent on the following criteria:
• Arrived in the United States under the age of sixteen.
• Lived continuously in the U.S. for a least five years prior to June 15, 2012, and was present in the U.S. on that date.
• Is currently enrolled in school, a high school graduate, holds a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.
• Has no felony convictions, no significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or poses a threat to public safety or national security.
• Is age 30 or younger.