White House to honor young adults who came to US illegally

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The White House will honor 10 young adults on Tuesday who came to the United States illegally and qualified for the president’s program to defer deportation actions.

Each person has qualified for the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, which delays removal proceedings against them as long as they meet certain guidelines.

They will be honored as “Champions of Change,” the White House said in a statement Monday because they “serve as success stories and role models in their academic and professional spheres.”

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They emigrated from Mexico, Colombia, Morocco, India, Taiwan and the Philippines, and many of them work in professions related to immigration policy or have helped launch initiatives that promote reform. 

In 2012, President Obama created the program through an executive order, which defers any action on the status of people who came to the U.S. illegally as children for two years and can be renewed. It doesn’t provide any legal status. 

People who qualify include those who came to the U.S. before turning 16, resided in the U.S. continuously since 2007 and people who are either currently in school, have graduated or received a certificate of completion for high school or were honorably discharged from the military. 

Program recipients also cannot have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors.

The event comes with the prospects for immigration reform dim, following the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in his GOP primary last week.

Obama had recently directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to delay his review of the government’s deportation policy in hopes that Congress could pass a reform bill by the August recess.

After Cantor’s downfall, however, many believe it is unlikely the GOP-controlled House will move on immigration ahead of November’s midterm elections.