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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Opinion

Child immigrants urge Obama to keep families together


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Kirin Daniels/The Cougar

The Texas immigration crisis is currently at a high, and a young man pled with President Barack Obama at a press conference to help out immigrant families as best as he could.

According to Think Progress, 10-year-old Andres Jimenez is one of many children who reached out to Obama to help immigrant families in any way possible.

Jimenez, a Florida resident, is an America citizen, but his parents came from Guatemala in 1990. His father was deported in 2011, leaving his wife and children behind.

After losing his father, Jimenez and his family began to feel the repercussions. Jimenez said his mother has a job which only pays $80 per week, and Andres’ grades began to suffer.

“He used to help me with my homework and to understand the lesson,” Jimenez said.

One thing readers should keep in mind is that Obama himself is a son of an immigrant. Because of this, one would assume that he would be doing everything in his power to help protect these immigrants and not send them back to their country.

The press conference, organized by the advocate group We Belong Together, took place in Washington, D.C. and saw Jimenez — along with many other children aged 8 to 14 — speaking about the personal difficulties they have gone through in light of this immigration crisis.

Some immigrants leave their country to start a new life and to escape difficulties they face in their own country. America has always prided itself on be a land of opportunities and as a free country where anyone can live without being discriminated against.

However, discrimination is exactly what is happening to these immigrants. There should be no harm in letting them continue to live here.

Psychology junior Emma Coronado had strong thoughts on the situation because of the personal connection she had.

“I think this is excellent,” Coronado said. “My own mother was deported when I was 14, and I had to step in as a surrogate parent for my little brother. I am excited that a child this young is aware of his own voice and using it to call attention to the suffering thousands of kids are going through.”

Think Progress reported that Obama delayed an action that would provide temporary deportation reprieve to a number of immigrants. Jimenez, while unsure this reprieve would extend to already deported individuals, is hoping for a reprieve for yet-to-be deported individuals.

The country has the space and the resources, and it is not right to split up families. The immigrants are not coming to America to cause a problem, they are coming here for a better life — for themselves and their families. Obama — of all people — should understand this.

This immigration crisis is one that has been discussed for many years now. Think Progress reported in 2011 that a memo was sent out by the Obama Administration that focused on the swift capture and deportation of criminal immigrants; unfortunately, the government began to focus on deporting so-called “low priority” immigrants — one of whom was Andres’ father.

Approximately 250,000 adults, whose children are U.S. citizens, were deported between 2010 and 2012. Furthermore, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is requesting Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to issue a deferral for immigrants, most especially those who have been U.S. residents for 10 or more years.

Unfortunately, the immigrants may have to wait a long time until this reprieve is granted.

According to ABC News, in 2006, Obama — who was at the time a U.S. senator — was appealed to by a number of immigrants residing in Illinois to halt their deportation. He refused, causing them to be separated from their families and sent back to their home country.

If Obama refused to reprieve 30 immigrants, it’s difficult to believe that he will grant a reprieve to millions of immigrants.

However, according to another article by ABC News, Vice President Joe Biden stated on Sept. 22 that Obama “is absolutely committed to moving forward on comprehensive immigration reforms.”

Biden’s comments came about at his Naval Observatory residence when he and his wife hosted the Hispanic Heritage Month reception for a number of Hispanic leaders. Attendees included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios and voter advocate Henry Munoz.

Biden said that Obama decided that “if (Congress doesn’t) get something done by the end of this year, he’s going to do it.”

Advocacy groups for immigration are hoping that Obama, who as yet to make a decision on immigration deportation, will be aggressive in his decision when that time finally comes. Janet Murguia, the president of the National Council of a leading Latino advocacy group La Raza, had thoughts of her own regarding the matter.

“Some of the hard feelings could be forgotten at the end of the day if he acts boldly,” Murguia said.

No matter what decision Obama makes, he should keep in mind that immigrants are humans just as much as anyone else. It is not right to separate them from their families and deny them opportunities. They should be allowed to stay in the country, as it is not harming anyone.

Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected] 

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