Lesley Osegueda: I definitely consider myself an American. I love the U.S.
Maggie: Twenty-one-year-old Lesley Osegueda was born in Mexico but has lived in the United States since she was five.
Lesley: Whenever I hear the National Anthem, I get chills.
Maggie: Leslye and her family live here illegally. They never went through the process to become U.S. citizens.
Lesley: I can’t drive, since I legally can’t get a driver’s license. And I can’t also legally work since I don’t have a work permit.
Maggie: Three years ago, her father was sent back to Mexico. He is just one of the 1.2 million immigrants deported from the United States in the past three years under the Obama administration. But over the summer, President Obama made a huge change to immigration policy. He went around congress and issued an executive order that said the government will no longer deport illegal immigrants 30 or younger, who meet certain requirements. They had to have arrived here before the age of 16, lived here for at least five years, have no criminal history, and be enrolled in or have graduated from a U.S. high school, or served in the U.S. military.
President Obama: These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.
Maggie: Young people were lining up to get information about the program that is starting today. Under this new policy, Leslye can get things like a work permit, a Social Security number, a driver’s license, and continue her education.
Yet some students are worried about what will happen when the temporary program is up for renewal in two years, when Barack Obama might no longer be president. Others worry the policy doesn’t go far enough. They want the Dream Act passed in congress. That is legislation that gives undocumented immigrants who came here as children a path to citizenship. But supporters have been unable to get the Dream Act approved in congress.
Critics of today’s new immigration policy say it rewards people who broke the law by living here illegally. They also worry more people will be competing for jobs in an already tough market.
The president’s opponent, Mitt Romney, says that congress should be the one to take up the immigration issue.
Mitt Romney: I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered, and should be solved on a long term basis, so they know what their future would be in this country.
Maggie: Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.