Hundreds show up for Oakland immigration program

August 15, 2012 7:59:16 PM PDT
The Obama administration's ambitious deferred action program began Wednesday and is drawing long lines around the country. It allows young, undocumented immigrants to apply for a temporary right to live in this country, without the fear of being deported. The new immigration policy affects nearly 1.7 million young immigrants.

Wednesday morning, more than 100 people showed up at Saint Elizabeth High School in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland for a workshop on applying for the deferred action program.

Almost all of those who showed up are young people between the ages of 15 and 30 years old. They are hoping to be accepted into this program set up by the president, which would give them a work permit and allow them to stay in the country without fear of deportation.

"Congress still needs to act, we need to pass a Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st century economic and security needs," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.

Eighteen-year-old Liala Molina from Pleasanton also spoke to the audience. Her parents carried her across the border when she was 3 year -old. She said this chance to be in the country legally will mean college and law school and a chance for to live her dream.

"I want to go to law school. So when you take the bar exam you need your license and it means that I don't have to spend years in law school, just to not practice law. It's just a big deal overall," said Molina.

This fall Molina will be a freshman at UC Santa Cruz.

But in Pleasanton, Tea party member Jim Freeman says the deferred action policy is unfair.

"I have in-laws who have waiting through the legal process for years in the Philippines those are in-laws of mine and they are still waiting," he said.

Freeman says the young people applying for legal status ought to have to get in line behind everybody else all over the world.

Immigration offices are not accepting the paperwork; people will need to get the form online and then they will have to mail it in.


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