Some young illegal immigrants question Obama's motives
Underneath the initial layer of jubilation, many Dream Act advocates and undocumented students greeted President Obama’s announcement that he would halt deportation of some young illegal immigrants with hesitation and even cynicism.
Obama ordered his administration Friday to stop deporting young immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children and who do not pose a security threat. And though many students rejoiced, others were skeptical about how such an order would be implemented. They noted the decision comes in an election year and wondered what would happen after the November presidential election.
Supporters of the Dream Act rallied at the downtown federal building Friday morning and stressed that they must continue applying pressure to ensure Obama’s order is implemented in a timely fashion. Some said they view the announcement as a perfect opportunity to gain momentum.
“This is policy,” Dulce Matuz, an organizer, cautioned. “We want this to be a law. We need a permanent solution.”
Supporters of undocumented students say that over the last decade, there have been several close calls when they believed reform was at hand, but it never panned out.
“There’s definitely some people who are saying we’re not going to believe this until we see it,” Matuz said.
Many were concerned about what will happen after November if Obama is not reelected. Others were worried that he will be reelected but might have a change of heart about the policy.
“This is a smart move,” Myrna Ortiz, organizer for the California Dream Network said. “[Obama] knows that we’re going to keep pressuring him .… This is a huge step and a smart step from the administration.”
-- Esmeralda Bermudez and Matt Stevens
Photo: Young illegal immigrants block traffic at a downtown rally Friday. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times