Undeterred by a federal judge’s ruling blocking President Barack Obama from providing legal shelter from deportation for some immigrants, several local leaders said Wednesday they will continue efforts to educate immigrants on how to apply for documentation.
“This is not about politics, but about our families,” Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen said on the steps of the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana. “We are not giving up. We are pushing forward.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen in Texas on Monday sided with 26 states that challenged Obama’s executive orders on immigration. The White House has said it will appeal the ruling.
“That appeal will be successful because the law is on our side,” Nguyen said.
The president previously issued an executive order — called the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) — preventing deportation for many youths who were brought to the country illegally by their parents. Obama announced in November of last year that he would expand the program to cover many of the parents of legal U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
Elia Alberto, who said her five children were all born here, said, “I have my paperwork ready” to file. She added she was not worried by the judge’s ruling.
Abraham Medina, a local immigrant-rights activist, said his mother came to the United States to “escape violence” in Mexico.
“Once I was here I faced a lot of stigmas because I was undocumented,” Medina said.
When he was in the third grade, a teacher told him he could not list “president” as a career aspiration, he said.
His biggest fear was “some day my mom wouldn’t (be able) to come home,” Medina said.
Alejandra Garcia Williams, the Mexican consul in Santa Ana, advised immigrants hoping for protection to “be calm, be informed and be prepared.”
Williams also warned immigrants to be wary of schemes to defraud them with unnecessary fees for help with documentation.
Immigrants were advised to first check the state Bar of California’s website — calbar.ca.gov — to determine if someone claiming to be an attorney is registered to practice law in the state. Those who do not have Internet access were advised to call (866) 879-4532.
Gus Castellanos, a representative from the office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, said the president’s executive order “has given us a great opportunity to keep families together.”
Castellanos said planned workshops to help immigrants apply for protection from deportation will still be held, and he advised forging ahead with collecting the necessary documentation and saving to be able to afford fees.
— City News Service