Filipinos welcome Obama’s immigration plan
LOS ANGELES—The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) welcome President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of halting deportation of young undocumented immigrants but are cautiously optimistic about what it means to the community.
NAFCON feel their efforts are making an impact but know there is still much work to be done, said Terry Valen, NAFCON president.
“Without the efforts of Jose Antonio Vargas, Carla Navoa, JB Librojo and thousands of other DREAMers and their supporters, President Obama would not have made this election-year move. His executive order signals that immigrant right’s organizing is working and now more than ever we need to continue to push for an end to family petition backlogs and legalization for all,” said Valen.
Obama and his senior advisors announced plans last week to stop deporting younger undocumented immigrants. The initiative will apply to younger undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children and have since led law-abiding lives. This, however, is not a path to citizenship.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that it would also halt the deportation of as many as 800,000 young illegal immigrants and in some cases, give them work permits.
NAFCON believes there are nearly one million undocumented Filipinos living in the US. Many of them under the age of 30 and will benefit from the administration’s recent announcement.
Valen said it’s time for the White House administration and Congress to come up with a more permanent plan to help all undocumented immigrants.
“We are fully aware that this is short-term relief which offers no long-term path to citizenship or legal permanent residency. Even JB and Vargas, who helped put the plight of dreamers on the national stage, will not be able to avail of this ‘relief’ as it is limited to those only under 30,” added Valen.
She added that NAFCON remains committed in its efforts to push the US government to pass legislation that unites Filipino families and allows all undocumented immigrants a path to work and support their loved ones legally.
This means passage of not only the Dream Act but Comprehensive Immigration Reform as promised by Obama in his initial campaign for the presidency, she said.
NAFCON, a national multi-issue alliance of Filipino organizations and individuals in the US serving to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos, have been previously successful in their campaigns to hold off the deportation order of 32-year-old JB Librojo, an undocumented Filipino living in San Jose.
She said there is still much more work to be done in the immigration movement. Joseph Pimentel/Asian Journal
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