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Obama Immigration Shift Formalizes Existing Discretion Policy

The Obama Administration announced a change to immigration policy Friday, eliminating the risk of deportation for some young immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Liliana Luna is student body president at PCC Rock Creek.

Rob Manning / OPB

The new policy allows those young people to avoid deportation if they satisfy a handful of criteria. Those include not having a criminal record or being a security risk, and residing in the U.S. since before they were 16.

Liliana Luna is an undocumented immigrant in Oregon who appears to satisfy the new criteria. The community college student was arrested recently and not deported by federal officials, under pre-existing discretion guidelines.

Luna told OPB’s Think Out Loud that the new policy formalizes what was already happening.

“Now people know about it, because before it was like we knew through lawyers and because we’re activists and stuff and we hear about news from Washington, D.C. and stuff. But it was not public. Now that it’s public, it’s better,” Luna said.

Illegal immigration watchdogs say the policy shift is an overreach by the Obama Administration.