By Tim Devaney - 02/04/14 04:21 PM EST
A group of illegal immigrants is asking the Obama administration to suspend their deportations and expand a rule that would let them stay in the country.
The National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), a Los Angeles-based workers' rights advocacy group, filed a petition Tuesday on behalf of six illegal immigrants who are currently or have already faced the threat of deportation.
The petition asks the Department of Homeland Security to expand a program that allows certain illegal immigrants who came to the country as children to stay here. A spokeswoman for the group said this could include a provision for their families to stay, as well.
In the meantime, the petition asks the government to freeze deportations for the undocumented individuals who could be affected by the agency's decision.
According to the spokesperson, four of the illegal immigrants mentioned in the petition are currently facing deportation, while two have already avoided deportation.
“There is no question whether the president can stop deportations,” NDLON attorney Jessica Karp said in a statement. “It shows that he can and he should. The only question left is, 'Why hasn't he?’”
Karp called on Homeland Security to “correct years of reckless enforcement.”
President Obama issued a memorandum to Homeland Security officials known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in June 2012, which is similar to the DREAM Act that did not pass Congress. The memorandum had the effect of deferring prosecution of children brought to the nation as illegal immigrants.
This policy does not grant them U.S. citizenship or change their immigration status.
To be eligible, the illegal immigrant need to have come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, have continuously resided here for the last five years and be in school or have graduated at the time of application. Illegal immigrants who served in the military are also eligible.
The agency is required by law to respond to the petition, according to NDLON.