Undocumented Youth Line Up By the Thousands as Temporary Immigration Reprieve Takes Effect
Tens of thousands of young undocumented immigrants waited in mile-long lines across the country on Wednesday to take advantage of a new federal policy that may grant them legal status to temporarily remain and work in the United States. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, immigrants under 31, including students who are enrolled in school on the day they apply, will now be eligible for a two-year reprieve from deportation if they demonstrate that they came to the United States before their 16th birthday; lived in the United States for the past five years; have not been convicted of certain crimes; and, do not pose a national security threat. As the policy went into effect, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona issued an executive order barring immigrants who are granted a reprieve from receiving public benefits or getting drivers’ licenses. She also instructed state agencies to make sure only legal residents access taxpayer-financed benefits. We go to Phoenix to speak with journalist and organizer Roberto Lovato.