Immigration Changes Expected Tuesday Still Stuck in Court
Undocumented immigrants around the country had hoped to celebrate Tuesday. It’s the day a new federal policy was set to kick in, offering new benefits to many parents of children born in the U.S.
But that plan is currently tied up in court.
KUOW's Liz Jones stopped in at a rally held to mark the day in Seattle.
The turnout was small. A few dozen immigrants, advocates and city officials gathered downtown. They shared a familiar message about keeping up the fight for reform.
Erin Lunde Keenan said it would be a different scene if President Obama’s policy change was still on track.
Lunde Keenan: “Today would have been a very different day at our office. We would’ve been packed with families ready to be reunited.”
Lunde Keenan is with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, a legal aid group in Seattle.
In November, Obama announced executive actions that would benefit two groups of undocumented immigrants: those who were brought here as children and parents of U.S. born kids.
About two dozen states have sued to block the programs, saying they would encourage more illegal immigration.
Mexico native Hector Alonso came to the rally, eyes bloodshot after his night shift as a janitor.
Alonso: "I am here to ask for permission for a social security number, for one opportunity."
Alonso’s teenage daughter was born here. So he’s eligible for Obama’s program. It would allow him to avoid deportation and legally work here. Someday, he hopes, in a better job.
Alonso: "I would like to work for the courts, to work for the government."
Reporter: "Like an interpreter?"
Alonso: "A little bit more than that."
Reporter: "Yeah, what would you like to do?"
Alonso hesitates, then laughs.
Alonso: "Probably - I have in mind to work like a lawyer."
Alonso’s in college now. He knows law school will be tough. But he's used to fighting for his dreams.