The Worker’s Justice Project (WJP) applauds President Obama’s administrative relief that will allow five million immigrant families to live and work together without fear. While this is a historic moment, we must acknowledge that it is an incomplete victory. Millions of other immigrant workers and families are being left out of the executive action.
Listening to Obama’s announcement was a bittersweet moment for many immigrant workers and families who felt that their dream has not been fully realized. Yesenia Bucio, a mother to adreamer and two US-born children felt some relief by the President’s statement which reduces the possibility that she will be separated from her family. Overall though, she still feels her future is uncertain. “I am happy to know that I won’t be separated from my children and can temporarily work without fear, but I still wonder if I will be able to see my children go to college to fully realize their dreams and whether I will be offered full protection as a human being.” Other immigrants expressed similar disappointments, their status being completely left out of the President’s action.
Pedro Auquilla, a 50-year-old day laborer who immigrated to this country in 2000 so that he could work to support his family in Ecuador is one of the millions left out of the temporary reforms. “I am disappointed with President Obama. I feel that my hard work is not value and recognized. I have always been willing to offer my labor when this country needed me the most. I never refused to help during the clean up efforts after 9/11 and immediately after Hurricane Sandy. But still, it does not seem to be enough for President Obama,” according to Pedro Auquilla.
While we applaud President Obama’s executive action to bring up to 5 million people out of the shadows, this alone is not enough. Many workers and individuals like Pedro Auquilla will not be offered any protection. We need President Obama to expand his administrative relief to all immigrants and for Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform to offer a permanent, long-term solution to address our dysfunctional immigration system. We will continue to stand and fight with other millions of people for for a just, humane and inclusive immigration policy.