One less fear for illegal immigrant youth

Ellis Henican

Newsday columnist Ellis Henican Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a

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Dream on.

Children always pay the price or reap the benefits of choices their parents make.

Where to live. How to learn and pray. Who to associate with. It's one of the maddening realities of being young. Hugely important decisions, for better or worse, are being made by grown-ups and then imposed.

No choice could be any more life-changing than a parent's decision to move to a foreign country without the benefit of legal documents. Now, President Barack Obama has slightly eased that onerous burden on the young.

It isn't amnesty. Unlike the proposed DREAM Act, which is stalled in Congress, Obama's executive order doesn't promise citizenship or even permanent legal status. But it does make work papers a possibility for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came here before their 16th birthdays, and it frees them from the daily threat of deportation.

These young people "study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said. "It makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."

Mitt Romney wouldn't say whether he'd revoke the order. But in the Republican primaries, he opposed the DREAM Act and promised a hard line against illegal immigration.

So for now at least, the cost of one parental decision won't be quite so high.

WELCOME

1. Bienvenidos

2. Bienvenue

3. Willkommen

4. Huan-ying-guang-lin

5. Hwanyong-hamnida

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: English teacher Tara Driscoll, 34, got probation for having sex with a 16-year-old boy at a Lynbrook motel? And if the genders had been reversed? . . . How 'bout this response to the too-much-smoke-in-hookah-bars complaint by Suffolk Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport)? Don't go to hookah bars if you don't like smoke . . . Who should paint the sign? Should the sign be put out to bid? Should the sign include Supervisor Bill Wilkinson's name? Should it include the names of other East Hampton Town Board members? And the biggest question of all: How much time can the Town Board and the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee possibly devote to one lousy parking-lot sign at Kirk Park Beach? . . . Is the $65,000 settlement proof that Jay Lieberfarb was -- or wasn't -- a victim of age discrimination? No, the case had absolutely nothing to do with the 71-year-old Nassau lifeguard's appearance in a Speedo.

THE NEWS IN SONG: Open my door and the world walks in: "City of Immigrants" by Steve Earle, tinyurl.com/immcity

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: JACK MANISCALCO

One last A for Principal Jack Maniscalco. He threw such a great party-reunion-wake-funeral for West Islip's Westbrook Elementary School, lots of folks are asking as the final bell rings: "Wait a second, do we really need to close such a beloved public school?" But with fewer kids in the neighborhood and a 2-percent tax cap, "consolidation" is the current educational buzz word. What chance did one little school really have? Fifty years of grit and memories on Higbie Lane were no match for the ultimate school board vote. All Mr. Maniscalco and hundreds of students, alumni, neighbors and friends could do was to gather Thursday night on the back field and bid Westbrook Elementary a warm, weepy and fond farewell.

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