Deportation Halted for Younger Immigrants

Deportation Halted for Younger Immigrants

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced on Thursday that it would generally not deport or expel illegal immigrants who had come to the United States as young children and graduated from high school or served in the armed forces.

White House and immigration officials said they would exercise “prosecutorial discretion” to allow these people to stay in the country while the government focused its enforcement efforts on higher-priority cases involving criminals and people who had flagrantly violated immigration laws.

President Obama is, in effect, doing administratively what he could not persuade Congress to do — allowing the secretary of homeland security to provide relief to a select group of students who are here illegally but show great promise.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, has argued for a decade that “these young people should not be punished for their parents’ mistakes.”

White House officials emphasized that they were not granting relief to a whole class of people, but would review cases one by one, using new standards meant to distinguish between low- and high-priority cases…

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