-- In an election-year policy change, the Obama administration said Friday it will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.
The shift on the politically volatile issue of immigration policy prompted immediate praise from Latino leaders who have criticized Congress and the White House for inaction, while Republicans reacted with outrage that the move amounts to amnesty -- a negative buzz word among conservatives.
Those who might benefit from the change expressed joy and relief.
Pedro Ramirez, a student who has campaigned for such a move, said he was "definitely speechless," then added: "It's great news."
Joe Arpaio asks 'why now' to immigration
In a Rose Garden address Friday afternoon, President Obama said the changes would make immigration policy "more fair, more efficient and more just."
"It makes no sense to expel talented young people who are for all intents and purposes, Americans," Obama said.
"The notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense. If there is a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that's the right thing to do," he said.
Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
Come on. This is a huge contradiction to the laws. Just because they may pose no "criminal or security threat" doesn't mean they should stay. THEY'RE HERE ILLEGALLY. I don't see how this is okay, they came here illegally, whether they were aware of it or not. They shouldn't be allowed to stay.