While President Obama declared last week that he will support undocumented immigrants, some are questioning his motives, wondering whether the move was a campaign ploy or an earnest commitment. According to Eastern Los Angeles’ EPG News, some activists are urging undocumented youth to be prepared to get paperwork ready in case the new legislation doesn’t fully protect them from deportation.
The president’s legislation will grant worker permits to undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 that have graduated from high school or served in the military as long as they’ve lived in the United States for five years or longer. Although he has some support backing him, many immigrant advocates are left wondering whether he will stand by his word. Several events have been held to further educate the youth to ensure they are not taken advantage of. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined immigrant rights activists on June 19 to address the issue.
“We’ve gotta prepare the documents, we gotta show the record, you gotta demonstrate that you have been here through school records, thorough financial records,” Villaraigosa said at the meeting.
Jessica Dominguez, an immigration expert and LA Family Unity Commission member also advised immigrants to be cautious when deciding which individuals to ask for assistance from to help them with the process. According to the source, Dominguez said that once the legislation is put into place, some people may begin to attempt to take advantage of young immigrants.
President Obama’s news came after years of undocumented immigrants have come forward about their status. Earlier in June, more than a dozen students gathered outside of the president’s Denver office urging him to stop deporting young people without U.S. citizenship. Some believe these organized events are what sparked his decision.
According to The Denver Post, the Metropolitan State College of Denver board of trustees recently approved a tuition decrease for students that are unable to present valid U.S. citizenship, another issue that has been argued over in recent weeks. While there is no way of being sure what the future holds for undocumented youth, many are remaining hopeful.
Andrea Labra, an 18-year-old resident of Chicago told CNN that she was happy to hear the president’s announcement.
“It’s just an emotional thing to have the same opportunities that other students have,” she said.