DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that undocumented youth who were brought here as children and who meet certain criteria are now eligible for "deferred action," a form of long-term relief from deportation that allows employment authorization and college attendance, but does not lead to a green card.  Known as DREAMers (after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which Congress has failed to pass each time it has been introduced since 2001), these young people have become increasingly vocal and visible in public protests and in the media.

To be eligible for deferred action DREAMers must be under age 30 and physically present in the United States, must have arrived before the age of 16; must have continuously resided here for at least 5 years prior to June 15, 2012; must be a high school graduate, have a GED, be in school currently, or or be an honorably discharged veteran; and must have no convictions for felonies, "significant misdemeanors," or multiple misdemeanors.  Napolitano directed the agencies under her charge -- Citizenship & Immigration Services, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, and Customs & Border Protection -- to create a "clear and efficient process" and begin implementing deferred action for eligible DREAMers within 60 days.