Advocates for some 50,000 children in New York State are fearful they may be deported – and they’re asking President Obama to take action to protect them, before he leaves office.
President-elect Trump’s promise to deport up to three million undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds when he takes office has advocates fearful he’ll also undo a 2012 program put into action by President Obama.
“The Latinos, the Hispanics, they are very scared and concerned,” said Monica Arias Miranda, president of The Hispanic Coalition of New York.
The 2012 executive order by President Obama allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country without risk of being deported for two years, as long as they met a series of federal guidelines.
“They relied on an application that gave all their information out and they were promised that this wouldn’t be used to deport them,” said Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda. “So we want to make sure that we leave no stone unturned and don’t leave it to chance.”
The advocates want President Obama to grant protection for the 50,000 New York children in the program – and 750,000 nationally – from being deported, at least until they know the specifics of Trump’s immigration plan.
“To deport someone from this country is the equivalent of a criminal sentence,” said Sarah Rogerson, Director of the Clinic and Justice Center at Albany Law School. “It’s the deprivation of life here, liberty here, the pursuit of happiness here and could return some of these kids to a country that they’ve never known.”
Advocates say these children have educated themselves here and don’t pose a threat, and deporting them would also have an economic penalty, as those who work pay taxes.
“We want them safe,” said Miranda. “We want to know that they are going to be safe.”
The only way to make that certain, advocates say, is to have protection before Trump takes office.