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Minnesota Students Welcome Immigration Policy Change

 What will be the effect in Minnesota of the Obama administration’s policy decision not to seek deportation of immigrants under 30 who meet certain criteria?

As we noted in our June 21 post, this news has been eagerly embraced by many young, undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. illegally but want to stay. Though the policy change does not create a path to citizenship, it removes the threat of deportation from thousands of young people.

One key group of these people, of course, is college students.

A recent report by Minnesota Public Radio gave a good example of how the change could apply to college students. MPR followed the story of Alexander Della Polla, a 21-year-old computer science student at the University of Minnesota.

A large corporation offered Della Polla an internship. But he turned it down initially, because he is in the U.S. illegally and lacked work authorization. His parents brought him here from Venezuela when he was about 8.

When Della Polla heard about the change in immigration policy by the Obama administration, he literally wept for joy. And then he called the corporation back to accept the intern job.

“For the first time I can actually plan out my life,” Della Polla told MPR. “I can get a driver’s license, and I can do all these things I wasn’t able to do.”

Exact data are not available on the number of people in Minnesota who are now eligible to stay in the U.S. following the policy change. It seems clear, however, that the number is large.

The president’s announcement is not a long-term solution to the challenges of being an undocumented person. It only applies to people under 30 who meet certain requirements. And it could be overturned by a new president.

Still, the policy change is not only an important bridge to the future for those who qualify for it. The policy also signals a more welcoming environment for immigrants more generally. As we noted in last week’s post, the Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down most of Arizona’s harsh immigration law is also a movement in that direction.

Source: “Immigration policy announcement affects some in Minn.,” Minnesota Public Radio, Rupa Shenoy, 6-15-12

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