What Obama’s executive decision could mean for undocumented Filipinos and their families

The wait is almost over. Filipinos have been clamoring for President Barack Obama to announce his executive actions in an effort to bring immigration relief to people living in the US illegally.

For the past few months, it was the talk among the immigrant community.

“We’re looking forward to that because it has been delayed for so long already,” said one undocumented immigrant. “We’re hoping we can get the immigration reform relief.”

“We are looking towards the president and his leadership to really fall through and make a big, bold, inclusive administrative relief decision,” said Anthony Ng, an Asian-American rights advocate, “that would alleviate the fear of 11 million undocumented folks that are living here. That would help alleviate the backlogs and visas and different things as well as curtailing the deportation of folks working hard, who have established lives here. For us, he promised something, and we’re going to hold him accountable.”

A care home administrator has been living on an expired work visa the past three years. While he continues to work in the same industry, he has had no luck in finding a willing sponsor, putting his legal status in limbo.

“That’s the only way I can avail my citizenship, or my green card, if the president will grant an amnesty this time,” said the care home administrator.

For Filipinos, who are among estimated 11 undocumented immigrants in America, President Obama’s executive orders may put an end to a life filled with paranoia and fear.

“Wala naman takot mag trabajo,” said an unnamed undocumented worker, “kung mag ma huli.”

This would not be the first time President Obama issued an executive order on immigration.

In 2012, President Obama issued an executive order that allowed eligible undocumented youth to temporarily stay and work in the country through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

“As a DACA recipient, I know the benefits of administrative relief,” said Sean Tan. “It has helped me in college try to find a job so I can work, and also gave me the sense of security that I won’t be deported.”

President Obama’s executive orders also reportedly include deferring the deportation of more than four million undocumented parents of US citizen children.

“Any undocumented immigrant’s parents would really benefit from administrative relief,” said Seth Ronquillo, a DACA recipient, “and everyone is just really looking forward to be able to not worry about being separated from their family anymore, whether it’s deportation or whatever other circumstances.”

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