About 800,000 young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children could be spared deportation for at least two years under new rules announced on Friday by President Barack Obama that may appeal to Hispanic voters in an election year.
"This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It is not a permanent fix," Obama told reporters at the White House, adding that a permanent US immigration policy solution would have to come from Congress.
The move comes as Obama, a Democrat, is courting the nation's fast-growing Hispanic population while trying to win re-election on November 6 against Republican Mitt Romney, who has taken a harsh stand against illegal immigration. Most US illegal immigrants are Hispanics.
Under Obama's plan, those who qualify would be allowed to live and work in the United States for two years and could be eligible for extensions, the Obama administration said.
Obama has long supported measures to allow the children of illegal immigrants to study and work in the United States, but efforts to pass such measures in Congress have failed amid objections by Republicans.
The president's action sidestepped Congress and laid down a challenge to Republicans, many of whom view leniency on deportations as amounting to amnesty for illegal immigrants at a time when there are an estimated 12 million such people in the United States.
Republican lawmakers attacked the president's move, accusing Obama of encroaching into Congress' authority to set laws governing US citizenship.
But Obama said, "This is a temporary stop-gap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people."
Many of these illegal residents have lived most of their lives in the United States, attending American elementary and secondary schools. "They are Americans in their hearts and minds; in every single way but one - on paper," Obama said.
While campaigning in New Hampshire, Romney said, "The president's actions make reaching a long-term solution more difficult."
There are up to 2 million illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and who remain in the country, according to immigration group estimates. US officials said the new measures would affect roughly 800,000 people.
2012-06-18 17:18 编辑：crystal156