Local reaction to President Obama’s immigration reform plan
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – There are about 150,000 undocumented immigrants in San Diego who may be eligible to take advantage of the President Obama’s executive order.
When the president offered a similar program a few years ago, only about a third of those eligible were willing to take the risk. Immigration advocates hope this time, more immigrants will come out of the shadows.
Miriam Torres is one those willing to take the Risk. She came here illegally, but her three children were born here.
“Yes, yes, the fear in here, but not too much, but now is not no more,” said Torres.
She says she loves this country, and her goal is to stay here, and keep working, but she is conflicted about this opportunity to jump in front of others who have waited for many years and continue to wait.
“I feel like my heart is broken in two parts because I’m happy because so many peoples benefit, but there are other people waiting for more, so I’m happy, but I’m sad too,” she said.
For Ms. Torres, and others, this is not a free pass to citizenship, or permanent legal status. It merely allows them to stay without fear of being deported.
They will get help from the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium and Alliance San Diego.
“Anything that we can do today to keep families together, and prevent anyone from going to a detention center or being separated from their loved ones is a good thing,” said Christian Ramirez of Alliance San Diego.
These organizations worry about immigrants filling out the wrong forms, or being taken advantage of by people who cannot really help them.
Immigration lawyer Mathew Holt said, “It’s the fraud that might be involved, and that’s why we ask everybody, to go licensed attorneys, certified specialists, experts in the field. People that can review all of the options and make the best recommendation for that person.”
The process to qualify has not been fully detailed yet. This is the time to check criminal records, identity documents, I.D. Cards, passports proving the country of nationality, and any proof you have been in the country for the last five years.
“Immunization records, medical records, school records, rental agreements, mortgage statements, bank statements, and other documents that would prove the person has been continuously residing in the united states,” said Holt.
On December 5th, there will be several information meetings around the county to explain exactly what undocumented immigrants need to do to qualify.
Applications to qualify for a deportation deferral will begin in the Spring of next year.