Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the administration’s new program for young illegal immigrants is “not amnesty” despite the fact that it will remove them from the deportation process.
The program, announced Friday, would grant as many as 800,000 younger illegal immigrants immunity from deportation and allow them to qualify for federal work permits.
“The granting of deferred action under this new directive will not provide an individual with permanent lawful status and it will not provide a pathway to obtaining permanent lawful status or citizenship,” Napolitano said in Friday morning conference call with reporters.
“This grant of deferred action is not immunity, it is not amnesty,” Napolitano said. “It is an exercise of discretion so that these young people are not in the removal system.”
However, on the same conference call, senior administration officials told reporters that the program would “eliminate” qualifying illegals from the “universe of people subject to immigration enforcement.”
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