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Immigration Action Signals Relief for Many MI Families

PHOTO: President Obama's executive order on immigration could change the lives of an estimated 30,000 undocumented immigrants in Michigan by giving them legal status to stay in this country. Photo credit: Peter Souza/White House.
PHOTO: President Obama's executive order on immigration could change the lives of an estimated 30,000 undocumented immigrants in Michigan by giving them legal status to stay in this country. Photo credit: Peter Souza/White House.
November 21, 2014

DETROIT - An estimated 30,000 undocumented immigrants in Michigan soon could have legal status in this country, thanks to President Obama's executive order on immigration announced Thursday night.

The plan is aimed at spouses and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for several years.

Cindy Garcia of Lincoln Park said her family has lived in fear of her husband's deportation for the past decade, and welcomes the news.

"Here we have parents that are hard workers, bringing funds into the community, building the community, are always with their children," she said. "And we want to tear this apart?"

Republican leaders, who blocked comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, have slammed Obama's move as overstepping his authority, and have even threatened to shut down the government in response.

About 100,000 undocumented immigrants live in Michigan, according to the advocacy group Global Detroit.

Deportation has been ordered twice for Garcia's husband, who was brought to the United States from Mexico as a child by his aunt. Garcia said the emotional and financial ordeal of fighting what she calls "a broken system" has taken an enormous toll.

"It's just overwhelming. Very overwhelming," she said. "And it's hard for myself to try to always be strong in front of the kids, because I can't let them see me upset - because then they start to panic."

Many immigrant advocates have praised Obama's move but also feel that a more permanent solution still needs to come from Congress.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI