The Obama administration’s decree to allow illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as kids to temporarily stay in the country (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has given more than 53,000 young adults a chance to live the American dream. But not necessarily their friends and families.
Karla Rojas, a recipient of the program, crossed the border with her parents when she was seven. She recounted her experience entering the country illegally to Chris Jansing Friday and described her mixed feelings toward Obama's executive order.
“Millions of families come here to give their families a better life,” she said. “Crossing the border was really hard. There’s millions of stories out there just like mine.”
Before the new temporary policy was established this summer, Rojas said she felt depressed about the status of her future because she was not a legal citizen. Her acceptance into the initiative provoked feelings of excitement but also sadness.
“Even though I got accepted, my friends and my family are not protected from getting deported,” she said. “There’s millions of students out there who do not qualify because of a mistake they made in the past.”
The order allows those between the ages of 15 and 30 who entered the country prior to the age of 16 a two-year deportment deferral and they can request a renewal. They are also allowed to work legally in the United States and attend school.
Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart, who also joined Jansing & Co., praised the sentiment behind the edict but criticized the lack of true immigration reform happening in Washington.
“It’s only a two year reprieve from possible deportation,” said Diaz-Balart. “It’s not a permanent solution and it could benefit up to 1.2 million young people. When you’re living with the daily fear of possible deportation, two years is certainly a very important benefit...Something needs to be done about immigration reform because doing nothing is not enough and the 6th of November proved that Latinos are voting and they want results not just talk.”