By ELEANOR HEDGES DUROY, age 12
On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama unveiled a new executive action which protects approximately four million undocumented immigrants from deportation. The action applies to parents of United States citizens who have lived in the United States for five or more years.
President Obama said the immigration reform is “about who we are (as) a country and who we want to be for future generations.” He asked, “Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families and works together to keep them together?” Like his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive action, this new action temporarily prevents deportation for qualifying immigrants, but does not provide a path to citizenship. Approximately six million undocumented immigrants are still not covered by DACA or the new executive action.
Republican leaders who oppose the action believe that the president is overstepping the presidential powers granted under the Constitution and claim that he does not represent the will of the American people. “We will not stand idle as the president undermines the rule of law in our country,” said House Speaker John Boehner.
Immigrant rights advocates applaud the executive action for reducing pressure on undocumented immigrant communities, but are disappointed that it does not offer a path to citizenship. They are calling for congressional legislation on immigration. In a November 21 interview with Democracy Now!, activist Maru Mora Villalpando remarked, “This is just a temporary relief. This is not permanent. It’s not really immigration status.”