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Obama Immigration Shift Impacts NV Pocketbooks and More



June 18, 2012

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Undocumented students and their supporters in Nevada say President Obama's shift on immigration policy will affect more than a few local pocketbooks. Blanca is using only her first name in this interview because although she is one of the thousands of undocumented students in Nevada affected by Obama's order, she is not legal yet. However, in just 60 days, this UNLV graduate who was brought to the U.S. when she was 7 months old says she will finally be able to do something she has waited a long time for: apply for a job.

"There are so many job opportunities I've been offered, and sadly I have to decline them over and over again. Now I am able to pay my tuition. I am able to do so many things now. I just can't believe it!"

Obama's executive order would allow most undocumented high school graduates under age 30 who have a clean record to get a two-year work permit. Republican challenger Mitt Romney says he prefers a more long-term solution to immigration reform.

Bob Fulkerson, executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, says the executive order means the state finally can benefit from the long-term investment it has made in educating undocumented young people.

"The contributions of immigrants to Nevada's economy are highly significant. If we were to do without the impact of the 'Dream Act' kids affected by this, our economy would be suffering even worse than it is suffering today."

Critics accuse Obama of playing election-year politics, but to undocumented Nevadans such as Blanca, it was a decision that took political courage.

"If you think it's politics, then you think it's politics. For me personally, it's a move that will change my life forever."

In addition to high school grads, Obama's executive order also applies to undocumented Nevadans with GEDs and those who served in the military. Nationwide, it affects about 800,000 undocumented young people.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV