The Association of International Educators (NAFSA) called on the Department of Homeland Security on Monday “to make deferred action official government policy for undocumented students in the United States who would be eligible to earn legal status under the DREAM Act.”

NAFSA said in its press release:

President Obama has called for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that emphasizes American values of fairness and compassion. In a recent address, he expressed his support for the DREAM Act and said: “We should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to stay here and earn an education and contribute their talents to build the country where they’ve grown up.”

NAFSA “is an association of individuals worldwide advancing international education and exchange and global workforce development.”

According to NAFSA during the 2008-2009 academic year “international students and their dependents contributed approximately $17.6 billion to the U.S. economy.”

In Florida there are over 30,000 international students; along with their families, they contribute over $800 million to the state’s economy.

Deferred action is a temporary status the federal government can grant to halt deportation hearings of undocumented immigrants; it also allows them to apply for an employment card. But the use of deferred action adds controversy to the U.S. immigration debate.

On June 21 “Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and seven Senate colleagues sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to proceed with any plan to parole or defer action on millions of illegal aliens in the United States.”

“The [Obama] administration would be wise to abandon any plans for deferred action or parole … Such a move would further erode the American public’s confidence in the federal government and its commitment to securing the borders and enforcing the laws already on the books,” the senators wrote to Obama.

Sen. Hatch, along with Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), pioneered the DREAM Act.

On Monday The Washington Independent reported that supporters of the DREAM Act were arrested in the capital.

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