The Obama administration responded to years of pressure from immigrants rights groups a few weeks ago with an announcement that it will stop deportations and begin granting work permits for some Dream Act-eligible students, the Huffington Post reported.
Some 800,000 people are expected to come forward to receive deferred action from deportation, as first reported by the Associated Press. The policy change will apply to young undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, along the same lines as the Dream Act, a decade-old bill that passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate in 2010.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters that the policy change is part of a general shift by the Obama administration to focus on deporting high-priority undocumented immigrants.
"This grant of deferred action is not immunity," Napolitano said. "It is not amnesty."
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in a released statement, called the action "a politically-motivated power grab that does nothing to further the debate but instead adds additional confusion and uncertainty to our broken immigration system."
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