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Young immigrants react to Obama administration order suspending some deportations

The order could affect millions of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children

June 20, 2012|Joe Dashiell | Reporter

ROANOKE CO.,Va. — National immigration policy remains a hot button issue across the country. The recent announcement that the Obama administration will suspend deportations of some young illegal immigrants is generating more headlines and more debate, but  who will it affect here in our region?    

We wanted to hear from young people who came here as children years ago, have made their lives in this area, but now face an uncertain future.

Jessica Paz just graduated from Cave Spring High School.  "I came here to the United States when I was 11 years old and I've been here for 8 years,"  she told us.
 
Like her friends Eddy Bolanos, and Angel Monjaraz, Paz came to the United States from Mexico with her family, and now she would like to continue her education. "I want to go to college. I want to be a nurse. I want to work. I want to have a license," she said.

The executive order suspending deportations of some young undocumented immigrants is seen as a hopeful sign in Roanoke's immigrant community.

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Immigration lawyer Christine Poarch says it's still unclear how the order will be applied.  She says no one should be applying for anything until the federal government provides guidance, but she says there are many young people in this region who could benefit.

"Certainly these children are here illegally," Poarch told us in an interview, "but in reality they are victims to some extent of a decision they did not make."

Eddy Bolanos says he wants the opportunity to help his family. "For me, I want to give a better life to my family, since I am the oldest son," he said. "I have a little sister, and I want her to have a better life than I had."

Angel Monjaraz says he hopes people will consider the contribution that he and others can make if they're allowed to fulfill their potential in the community where they grew up. "You give a student, a young person, the opportunity to keep going to school, to become a better person... ultimately it's going to be helping the country, the whole state."

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