In his speech tonight unveiling his executive action on immigration, President Obama stated that we need to take responsible steps for the millions of immigrants living in the U.S. undocumented. The President said he wanted to focus on deporting felons, not families.
I couldn’t agree with him more on that sentiment. Now I know this is not a popular move by the President. There’s a lot of political mumbo jumbo going on. But for the people who have sat in my conference room hearing “there’s nothing I can do for you” for the past 14 years, it’s a major relief.
Shortly after my husband and I opened our law firm in 2000, President Clinton passed the Life Act. That was 14 years ago. Other than DACA, there hasn’t been significant reform or change in the immigration law.
So for the gentleman from Mexico with a U.S. Citizen wife and child who came to see me 11 years ago in 2003 and then again in 2013, who on both occasions heard me say, “there’s nothing I can do for you”, I finally have a different answer. You’ve paid your taxes, you have no criminal record, you’ve lived here for at least five years and you have a U.S. Citizen child. I can help you apply for a work permit, social security number and a driver’s license. For Americans, we take all this for granted, but for my clients, these are the golden keys to supporting their children and families.
I have always said immigration is about families. And tonight President Obama said that those who have entered illegally have broken the law but that we need to help the millions of people in this situation “get right with the law, make amends, and give their kids a better future”. Really, that’s all my clients want to do. I have had mothers and fathers cry in my conference room when they find out there’s nothing I can do. Hopefully, the tears will be of joy now that I can finally tell them I can.