By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI — For some, it was seen as an inspirational announcement. For others, it was considered a political move in a heated election year in which every vote counts.
But this week, thousands of students will celebrate what they see as a big step for freedom of migration.
During a news conference at the White House on Friday, President Barack Obama revealed the details of his administration’s directive that will halt deportations of young undocumented immigrants and grant them the ability to receive a temporary work permit for up to two years.
“This is not amnesty, it is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. Neither is a permanent solution,” said the president, surrounded by journalists eager to learn more about the change that took effect on Friday.
The White House estimates that the measure will affect more than 800,000 young immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents, without regard for the formal immigration process.
In the Rose Garden, Obama opened his remarks by stating the new policy will “mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient and more just, specifically for certain young people sometimes called DREAMers,” referring to the undocumented youth who have chosen to attend college or enlist in the military, the focus of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act currently stalled in the Senate.
After the speech, social networks exploded with voices both praising and criticizing the move.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican representing Florida’s 18th Congressional District, tweeted in support of the measure:
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) June 15, 2012
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-21, took the opposite view, said in a statement that ”The Obama plan is not a solution, just politics,” arguing that, “more than three and a half years ago, President Obama made a promise to the Hispanic community for comprehensive immigration reform. Today, he offered an executive order that smacks as a desperate and blatant political move.”
The latest presidential poll released by Ramussen Reports on Monday, conducted from June 15-17 with 1500 likely voters, gives Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney a 47-44 advantage over President Obama. The survey has a margin of error of 3 percent, making it a virtual tie.
Both candidates have been active in campaigning for the Latino vote, but the latest policy from the Obama administration seems to give the Democratic incumbent the slight advantage heading into November’s general election.
Florida Watchdog spoke with John de León, a lawyer in the Hispanic community and a member of the American Civil Liberties Union in Florida to get his perspective.
“I do not think the directive will have a legal or constitutional problems, but you will have political problems if the administration changes its president. This type of executive order could easily change,” he told Florida Watchdog.
The civil rights attorney said Friday’s announcement was a ”historic day for the country,” adding that the order would be for two years and then will be renewed.
“The important thing is to pass the DREAM Act, so that there will be a law which protects the younger immigrants,” said de León.
Calls to Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart’s offices were not returned.
Watch the interview with ACLU attorney John de León: