Today marks the day when almost 1.7 million young undocumented adults, primarily brought here as children, will be able to apply for deferred deportation under an executive order announced by President Obama on June 15. This order allows undocumented young adults to legally pursue work or education for the next two years. After the executive order was announced in June, the government as well as community organizations around the country have scrambled to set up websites, informational meetings, and legal assistance to those who qualify.
As they waited in long lines at Immigration offices, young immigrant called “The Dreamers” described their love and appreciation for the United States, along with their frustration at living in the shadows, unable to achieve their full potential.
For some, the dream is to attend college following a successful high school career. For others, it is the chance to finally have a social security number to provide to a potential employer. Yet for other Dreamers, it is as simple as going to the local Department of Motor Vehicles, obtaining a drivers license, and just stepping on the gas.
“I’m so excited about being able to drive, get a work permit, and go to graduate school,” said Dreamer Erika Andiola from Mesa, Arizona, as she got ready for her and her brother’s application.
The initiative, announced by President Obama on June 15th, has relieved some of the fear of deportation for young people who were brought to the United States illegally before the age of 16, but it falls short of the immigration reform that they’ve been dreaming of. It’s not a path to citizenship, and it’s only good for two years.