Filipino activists call for true change after Obama spares undocumented parents

August 27, 2013

Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

SAN FRANCISCO – President Barack Obama has issued a directive on Friday, telling immigration officials to try not to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants who have minor children. These minor children are often left to the care of strangers after their parents get detained and deported.

Recent data by the Applied Research Center show that in 2011, about 5,200 U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants, who were detained or deported, were living in foster care.

That number could increase to 15,000 by 2016, if the high numbers of detention and deportation continue.

The study also shows that about 200,000 parents were deported between 2010 and 2012.

This move from the President has won praise from immigrant rights groups who said it’s a move toward a more humane detention and deportation policy. But others said it’s simply not enough that the broken immigration system that separates families needs to be fixed immediately.

Filipino activists in San Francisco called for the passage of a comprehensive reform bill, by dancing the cha-cha last Saturday. Members of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns and the Filipino Immigrant Rights Task Force are taking a serious issue and making it fun to educate the community about the importance of immigration reform.

“I came here because I wanted to share my fears. I wanted to empower myself and not hide,” said an undocumented Filipina, who only prefers to identified as “Adarna Ortiz”.

They said in the Philippines, the rich only becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer…because of rampant corruption, especially in the government.

They said many Filipinos have no choice but to leave their families behind in the Philippines, come to the U.S. and live in fear as undocumented immigrants.

“Even if we are undocumented, we should be treated like humans. We are not animals or machines, without any dignity. We are humans, just like everyone else,” said another undocumented Filipino, who goes by the name “Adrian de los Santos.”

As congress resumes debates on immigration reform after the August recess, these Filipino activists are planning to hold more demonstrations in key U.S. cities, to remind lawmakers why total change needs to happen…and they said it needs to happen now.

For more information, you may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Aw
    28 August 2013 at 6:32 am - Reply

    “Even if we are undocumented, we should be treated like humans. We are not animals or machines, without any dignity. We are humans, just like everyone else,” said another undocumented Filipino, who goes by the name “Adrian de los Santos.”

    Dyan magaling ang Pinoy sa pagiging pusong MAMON at sa pagmamakaawa o kaawaan sa paghingi ng tulong!

  • jorge buesa
    28 August 2013 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Why can’t undocumented immigrants, with minor children take they children back with them to where they come from ? Hey Obama stop playing games do what you started to the undocumented immigrants !

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