On Nov. 20, President Barack Obama announced an executive order to place a three-year temporary deportation reprieve for undocumented immigrant parents of children who are American citizens or have permanent resident status.
These undocumented parents can now also apply for work permits if they have been in the country for at least five years. The existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will also expand to include undocumented kids who arrived in the U.S. before turning 16 and have been present since Jan. 1, 2010.
According to the White House, an estimated 4.1 million undocumented immigrant parents could now be eligible for deportation delays, including more than 1.1 million in California — the most of any state. A Pew Research Center poll found that the Golden State has the second-highest percentage (behind Nevada) of K-12 students in public schools with at least one parent who does not have
legal status. — Gary Walker
“The separation of families is one of the most inhumane parts of our immigration system and it was absolutely critical to have a policy that keeps families intact. … The president’s action is a good first step, but in some ways it does not go far enough. There has been a tremendous amount of anti-immigrant speech lately that creates this ecology of fear, as if immigrant communities are taking something away from them.”
— Judy Baca, co-founder of the Social and Public Art Resource Center in Venice
“Successful outcomes depend on the involvement of parents in their children’s education — from parent-teacher conferences to baking cookies for a class holiday party. Unfortunately, the stable home environment that nurtures parent participation is lacking in the homes of school children who live in fear of immigration authorities. … Starting with my teaching career in 1992, I saw dozens and dozens of students with 4.0 GPAs ready for college, but facing a closed door to higher education simply because of their immigration status. Years later, as a counselor, I could only give hugs of c onsolation at graduation ceremonies to some of our greatest students who met every requirement for college eligibility except status.”
— LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer
“America is a nation of immigrants, and this executive action will be beneficial to many Californians and to my constituents. I support the president’s action and I plan to work on comprehensive immigration reform when I get to Washington D.C.”
— Congressman-elect Ted Lieu (D- Torrance),
the son of Taiwanese immigrants
“There is no court that will overturn President Obama’s executive order. The president clearly has the authority to set policy for the enforcement of immigration.”
— UCLA School of Law professor Adam Winkler, a specialist on American constitutional law