Some Locals Applaud Obama's New Immigration Policy

Today's move by President Obama to loosen immigration rules for younger illegal immigrants stands to impact perhaps tens of thousands of people here in the Houston area.

The new policy affects those who were brought into the U.S. illegally by their families.

If they came to the U.S. before they were sixteen, don’t have a  criminal record and are not a security risk, then they no longer have to worry about being deported.

Gordan Quan is a Houston immigration rights attorney, who says the move by the president is the right thing to do.

"I’ve counseled young people who graduated valedictorian in their class. No working knowledge of Spanish, but yet had no legal status, worried about how they could go to college, what careers they could have, looking to possibly even immigrant to Canada since they had no chance for immigration to the United States."

The new policy also allows the young immigrants to apply for two year work permits that can be renewed unlimited times. Quan says the old policy was unfair. Many children had no choice and were brought to the U.S. by their parents, but as they grew up and went to school, they weren’t allowed to work like everyone else.

"I met one young man, who was a graduate of Texas A&M, two degrees a master’s degree in computer science. He set up his own company, because he could not work for anybody. He had to contract his own services out to other people. That’s the only way he could pay taxes and be employed. Otherwise, he’d have to work on a cash basis and not be paying taxes."

While most Democrats are happy with the presidents new policy, some people in the Latino community are also a bit ambivalent. They like the policy, but feel the president hasn’t fulfilled most of his promises when it comes to immigration.

Governor Rick Perry issued a statement saying the president has failed to provide a secure border and is instead granting blanket amnesty to those who have broken our laws.

Houston’s Dawn McCarty works at Casa Juan Diego, a nonprofit group that works with new immigrants. She says it's not the children who broke the laws and they shouldn’t have to pay.

"We know these young people. We know the terrible situation that they’re in and really nothing they can do about it until today."

As for the President’s policy not going far enough, Gordan Quan had this to say:

"Better half of the pie than nothing."

One thing everyone does agree on is that the issue figures to play a big role in the upcoming election.  

 

Gov. Rick Perry's full statement regarding the Obama Administration’s immigration announcement:

“The Obama Administration’s election-year tactic to bypass Congress and arbitrarily grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants is another example of its blatant disregard for our Constitution, our rule of law and our democratic process. The laws of this nation are not open to selective, convenient or political interpretation; they are the very foundation of our freedom, and the protections they guarantee make our nation strong and attractive to immigrants around the world - millions of whom abide by our laws and processes and seek legal entry. These are decisions that should be thoroughly debated within the halls of Congress.

This Administration has failed to provide a secure border, which is essential to national security, and is instead granting blanket amnesty to those who have broken our laws. Failed border security and immigration policies have created a magnet for those who came in the first place. It’s clear President Obama prefers to upend the rule of law, picking winners and losers, rather than work with Congress and the American people on a sustainable, long-term solution.”