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President's Order Cheered, Activists Back in Action Monday

President Obama's executive order on immigration could affect more than 55,000 people in Arkansas. Credit: Deborah C. Smith.
President Obama's executive order on immigration could affect more than 55,000 people in Arkansas. Credit: Deborah C. Smith.
November 21, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - More than 55,000 people living in Arkansas could be touched by the executive order on immigration President Obama announced Thursday night, according to Pew Research estimates. The changes are expected to lead to fewer deportations and detentions for people in the country without authorization, especially for those with children born in the United States.

Kica Matos, director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Community Change. said it's the kind of announcement they've been awaiting for six years.

"We will celebrate this victory. We will welcome it with open arms, and so, we will be out on the streets today," she said. "And guess what we're going to do on Monday? We're going to go back to the hard work of continuing to fight for a permanent solution."

For years, Matos said, the immigration reform movement has sought changes in policy to keep families intact, and she thinks this move will help.

"We can't forget that over 2 million people have been adversely impacted by the president's immigration policy," she said. "So, it feels like this is a new page in a book that has been filled with a lot of pain for our communities."

She added that comprehensive reform has to come from Congress. Republican leaders have expressed dismay with Obama's order and have threatened to shut down the government in response, but Matos said Congress has long debated reform and hopes they can continue that dialogue.

The Pew research is online at pewhispanic.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - AR