Last week, the Obama administration announced a new process that would allow undocumented youth who were brought to the United States before they were 16 to have review of their cases deferred for two years. These individuals would also be able to apply for authorization so that they can work legally in the United States. This process was initially proposed through the DREAM Act and requires that applicants do not have a serious criminal record and that they have graduated high school, are enrolled in school or have received honorable discharge from the Armed Forces or Coast Guard.
Immigrant rights activists were quick to applaud the Obama Adminstration's actions. In an article for the Huffington Post, Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, said that "...the Obama administration threw a lifeline to America's undocumented youth..." In his official statement, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force Chair Rep. Luis V. Guitierrez (D-IL) said "It is the right thing to do and I am overjoyed and proud that the President has acted."
Politicians on the far right were quick to question the President's motives in making this decision that would give relief to more than 800,000 people under the age of 30. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) appeared on the Fox News program "American Newsroom" and asked, "Is this one of those backdoor opportunities to allow people in the next five months to get the opportunity to vote?"
On the show, Rep. West repeated the false charge -- previously made by other Florida officials -- that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has refused to comply with state officials' requests to provide immigration data to assist Florida in their voter roll purge. As we told you last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott is trying to purge 180,000 voters, 87% of whom are people of color.
Gov. Scott is suing the DHS to gain access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program (SAVE) to aid his reckless and partisan purge. The problem is that eight months ago, Florida admitted it had not followed the procedure that would allow DHS to release the records. According to the letter to Florida by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, "Florida has failed ... to provide the necessary information to DHS...As a result the significant problems you are encountering in adminstering [the voter roll purge] are of your own creation."
Florida is just one example of numerous attacks orchestrated by the GOP to suppress the vote of people of color.
If you haven't already joined our campaign to end state-sanctioned voter suppression in Florida, please add your name here: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/rickscott.