President Obama will honor beneficiaries his decision to “lift the shadow of deportation” from illegal immigrants who would have qualified for citizenship under the DREAM Act, a celebration that comes as Vice President Joe Biden plans to travel to Guatemala to convince young people there that they will not receive the same treatment if they come to the United States now.
“The White House will honor local ‘Champions of Change,’ who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, for their exemplary leadership in their communities,” a press office announcement says. ”These DACA recipients serve as success stories and role models in their academic and professional spheres. These Champions distinguished themselves through their community involvement and the hard work they put into helping other members of their academic and professional communities succeed.”
The event is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Biden goes to Guatemala on Friday. “The visit comes amid an influx of tens of thousands of children crossing into the United States, many of them traveling alone,” as McClatchy noted. “A senior White House official attributed the flood of children to violence and a lack of economic opportunity in the region. But the official also acknowledged a ‘misperception of U.S. immigration policy’ and said Biden will emphasize that illegal immigration is unsafe and that newly arriving children are not eligible for earned citizenship in the U.S.”
An Obama spokesman said that the administration plans “to be as clear as possible about the law” regarding immigration in order to discourage Central American children from showing up at the border.
“Those individuals are not eligible for the deferred action, executive action that was announced a couple years ago,” White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The honorees have all worked to support comprehensive immigration reform in some way. They include a ThinkProgress writer and two people involved with Mi Familia Vota, ”a national non-profit organization working to unite the Latino community and its allies to promote social and economic justice through increased civic participation” by, among other things, ”expanding the electorate through direct, sustainable citizenship, voter registration, census education, GOTV and issue organizing in key states.”