Dozens of people rallied in downtown Fresno Friday in support of the President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration reform. His order could provide protection for about 5 million people, including 23-year-old “Liz,” who chose not to use her real name.
“It was definitely emotional hearing that from the president–something that we’ve been waiting for. This is like the best chance we will get,” Liz said.
The president’s executive order will affect Liz and her family in many ways. The order expands protection for undocumented people who were brought to the country as children by their parents, just as Liz was when she was 10 years old.
Under the president’s order, an undocumented person who’s been in the country at least five years, has a child who is a citizen or a legal resident, and passes a background check, would be eligible for temporary protection from deportation after paying a fine.
It means Liz’s mother would also be protected–it’s something that would change their lives.
“To not be afraid–that’s the thing that a lot of people fear. I was the same way,” Liz said.
The president’s move is getting intense pushback from Republicans in Congress, including Congressman David Valadao, who says the president doesn’t have the authority to take such action.
“Doing immigration reform through the open transparent process of going through the legislative branch is the right way and most secure way,” Valadao said. He explained that this order doesn’t fix the broken immigration system, and the next president could undo Obama’s order.
Valadao added that he’s frustrated with House Republicans for stalling on comprehensive immigration reform.
Democratic Congressman Jim Costa said it’s hypocritical for Republicans to criticize but fail to act.
“Instead of complaining or being outraged, let’s do our responsibility. Let’s produce a bill,” Costa said.
At the moment, there is no application available yet as the White House defines the parameters of the new order.