Illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children may no longer have to worry about being deported. The Obama Administration announced on Friday some illegal immigrants will be able to apply for two-year work permits.
This does not cover all illegal immigrants.
It only covers people under 30 years old who came to the U.S. before they were 16, people who do not have a criminal record and people who have at least a high school diploma or served in the military. You also have to live in the U.S. right now and be able to prove that you have been here for at least five years.
The White House said this will impact close to a million people.
An illegal immigrant in the Valley said President Barack Obama's policy has a long way to go.
Immigrant Isabel Castillo and her family came to the U.S. when she was six years old and they have stayed in the Valley illegally. Castillo fights tirelessly for more rights for people like herself.
“Why not give these individuals the opportunity to work and create jobs for others?” asked Castillo.
She said President Obama's newest policy is bittersweet and she woke up this morning feeling cautiously optimistic about the new plan.
“I have been very disappointed with the administration so to be honest with you when I heard this, I wasn't crying in happiness and jumping up and down.”
Congressman Bob Goodlatte said he is also disappointed with the Obama Administration and he thinks this move could cost the president his job in November.
“A lot of people in this country are very upset about this,” said Goodlatte. “Very disappointed in the president not enforcing our laws related to people who are illegal in the United States and now going a step further and actually giving them work permits that will allow them to take jobs from United States citizens.”
Castillo said immigrants working jobs could help the U.S. Economy and this policy could be the next step toward prosperity. She was upset others could be left behind.
“I know I would qualify for this but a lot of my community members and even relatives do not qualify.”
Goodlatte said President Obama abused his presidential authority by approving the work permit plan.
“It's a concern to me not only because of the employment status, but also from the principle that people who break the law should not be rewarded for doing so,” said Goodlatte.
Castillo knows it is a human rights issue that needs more work before everyone reaches citizenship.
“This is a humane issue, a human issue and it's the right thing to do,” said Castillo.
Goodlatte says illegal immigrants have already broken the law and that they are more likely to violate other laws. Castillo, on the other hand, has no criminal past and has a college degree.
This new plan would protect people from deportation for two years, but it can be renewed an unlimited amount of times.
Now Castillo said she thinks this will help the economy, but Goodlatte said it will take away jobs.
Goodlatte says it will hurt unemployed people's efforts in the job search and that the unemployment rate is already high across the country. Castillo said more jobs can only help those unemployment numbers.
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