President Obama’s decision to stop deporting undocumented immigrant youth has garnered both quick support and criticism since the June 15 announcement. According to the Chicago Tribune, more than 100 Chicago residents gathered on June 19 at Bartolome de Las Casas Charter School for an informational event spurred by Obama’s announcement.
One of the main points of criticism made during the gathering was that the policy was too vague and lacked any concrete evidence that those without U.S. citizenship wouldn’t get taken advantage of. The policy, which was announced last week, allows undocumented immigrants below the age of 30 the opportunity to stay in the country.
The provision, which is estimated to affect 800,000 people, will allegedly allow individuals to apply for an employment certification. In order to be eligible to apply, the immigrant has to currently be a student, or already have received a high school diploma or GED.
While some parents and immigration advocates are left wondering what additional benefits will be given to immigrant youth in order to further protect them, some youth are overjoyed with this new opportunity. Andrea Labra, a recent high school graduate who was brought to the country at the age of five, told the Tribune that it was a “wonderful feeling” when she heard the news.
Jose Luis Zelaya, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, told CNN that the announcement could be the lifeline he needs to support himself.
“Maybe I will be able to work without being afraid that someone may deport me,” he told the source.