Walter Mencken 10:06 a.m., Feb. 6
Local Unions Cheer, Republicans Decry Obama's Immigration Order
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council has quickly responded to President Obama’s controversial plan to stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants. Lorena Gonzalez, the secretary-treasurer/CEO of the Council, issued the following statement of support Friday:
“Working families in San Diego applaud the Obama Administration’s announcement to provide relief from deportation to immigrant young adults brought to this country by their parents at an early age. These are some of San Diego's best and brightest, and the President’s actions allow them to finally live without fear of separation from their families and deportation to a country they barely remember. This talented group of young Americans was educated here and has been working to build a better community for all of us. Beginning today, they can come into the open to pursue their dreams right here, where they call home. San Diego will be stronger for their extraordinary contributions and I commend this administration for its courage and leadership in taking an important step towards a more just America.
“Today's announcement is an encouraging step in beginning to address our nation’s dire need for comprehensive immigration reform. We call on San Diego’s elected officials to work towards a common sense solution that will address the parents and families of these young people.”
Under the plan, children who were brought to the U.S. illegally before age 16 and are currently under 30, have stayed in the country continuously for at least five years, have no criminal history, and have a high school diploma or GED or have served in the military will be immune from deportation. They will also be allowed to apply for a two-year work permit, which can be renewed an indefinite number of times.
Other locals were not as supportive.
“I think this is one of the most outrageous things he's done,” said former U.S. Attorney Pete Nunez. “It rewards people who have come here illegally regardless of circumstances, and it encourages more illegal immigration in the future.”
“The timing of this announcement is politically motivated and the policy is possibly in violation of the law,” added a statement from Republican Brian Bilbray, who will face off against Scott Peters in the 52nd Congressional District race this fall. Bilbray said he was “extremely disappointed” and that the move would “encourage more illegal immigration.”
Recent reports, however, suggest that several factors, the economic downturn being the largest, have already curbed illegal immigration, to the point where new arrivals to the U.S. are barely matching the number of those leaving, if indeed they are at all.