Immigration issues press on

A federal judge’s decision on Feb. 16 has blocked President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, which could shield millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States from deportation. 

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hansen filed an injunction against Obama’s executive order, stating it would make United States states “suffer irreparable harm in this case.”

Closer to home, Anayeli Cruz, alumna of Sonoma State, revealed her experience graduating from a university with a degree and unable to use it because of her legal status in the United States. Cruz applied for Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals back in 2012, she isn’t currently affected by the recent injunction made by Hansen.

“After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I was not able to use my degree, and my employment opportunities were very limited. I had a job that was paying minimum wage in retail,” said Cruz. “There were moments when I questioned myself whether the investment I had made in my education had been worth it. After I obtained DACA, I realized the privilege I had that many others who did not qualified lacked.”

After being accepted for Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals, Cruz was able to apply for a social-security number, a driver’s license and work lawfully in the United States.

Cruz now is a legal immigration caseworker, working with an immigration attorney in the Bay Area providing legal services for immigrants.

Hansen’s decision came in response to a lawsuit made by 26 Republican majority states against Obama, and the White House, arguing he violated the “Take Care Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, overreaching his level of authority.

“I can feel the uncertainty in the lives of classmates on campus,” said Lacinda Moore, president of the Multi-Cultural Education Club. “It has been frustrating throughout the years to see government bodies playing with failed delaying and halting tactics over a broad variety of Obama’s initiatives whether it be the budget, the Affordable Care Act and now immigration reform.”

Announced in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would give people living in the United States unlawfully since childhood a two-year renewable pass.  

Deferred Action does not give legal status, and those who apply may also work legally in the United States.

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans works in a similar way, except the program is geared toward parents with children with legal status in the United States. 

“It is very unfortunate that actions are being taken that inhibits the ability of undocumented students to gain legal status,” said Executive Vice-President Christian George. “The executive order signed by the president recognizes the important economic benefit that immigrants provide the economy, and by expanding Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals, it would allow students to have one less worry in their desire to better themselves, their families and the country they call home.”

The injunction filed by Hansen has only affected those who wanted to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and those applying for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans. Students who are a part of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, and Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals of 2012 aren’t affected, and can still renew. 

George also said, “Fortunately, California has the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) that provides opportunities for undocumented students to receive financial aid in their pursuit of a college education.”

The Republican Party has stated they will block Obama’s executive order by cutting off funding to the program through the Department of Homeland Security; a spending bill with attached language to dismantle his order.

The Department of Justice is filing a Emergency Stay this week, which is supposed to undo Hansen’s injunction on Obama’s executive order, shielding those in fear of deportation. 

“Although I feel it’s a benefit that people who qualify should take advantage of, I don’t see it as long-term solution,” said Cruz. “It is only a temporary relief.”