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EMO applauds Obama's undocumented children order

June 22, 2012

By Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that it will provide deferred action, a discretionary form of relief, for certain undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as children. As a result of this executive order, an estimated 800,000 young people nationwide will no longer have to live with the fear of deportation. Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon welcomes this announcement.

In order to qualify for deferred action, individuals must demonstrate that they (1) came to the United States before the age of 16; (2) have continuously lived in the United States for a least five years prior to June 15, 2012, and are currently present in the United States; (3) are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; (4) have a clean criminal record; and (5) are not above the age of 30.

For those currently in immigration proceedings, deferred action can be granted immediately. For others, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will develop and implement the application procedure within the next 60 days. Please note that it is not possible to affirmatively apply yet.

Although this provides some relief, it is a temporary two-year grant of relief that must be renewed, and it does not provide a pathway to citizenship. This is an important first step towards immigration reform, but it does not replace the urgent need for action by Congress. Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon is a statewide association of Christian denominations—including Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox bodies—congregations, ecumenical organizations and interfaith partners working together to improve the lives of Oregonians through community ministry programs, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, environmental ministry and public policy advocacy.

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