Posted 4:25 PM 6/15/2012 : Feelings mixed over president's announcement
TUCSON - President Obama's announcement Friday regarding immigration ignited a flurry of emotion for one Tucson man.
The president announced that younger immigrants, under the age of 30 will be eligible for a temporary pass if they arrived in the US before age 16. They have to have been here at least five years and must have no criminal history. Also, they have to have graduated from a US high school, earned a GED or served in the US military.
Cristian Villegas is an illegal immigrant who says he was brought to the U.S. at the age of three by his parents, "they just say the US is the land of dreams and that's what they were looking for for us to have a better future."
Villegas graduated from high school and said he wasn't able to join the Army because of his legal status, "I would give everything for this country even though I'm not from here."
The now 20-year-old said he was arrested and placed in immigration custody for two months because he didn't have proper documentation, "being in there was the worst two months of my life," he recalled. Villegas' attorney was able to keep him from being deported and he's currently enrolled at Pima Community College.
Carolyn Cox of the Pima County Republican Party said she can appreciate stories like that of Cristian but thinks Mr. Obama's announcement is backdoor amnesty and disregards the process of legislation, "he just says if you guys won't pass it I'll just dictate that this is the way it's going to be and he's supposed to be a constitutional scholar and he should know better than to do something like this but obviously he doesn't care."
But for Cristian the the president's announcement means people like himself won't have to live in the shadows, "not be afraid of getting stopped, deportation, going to jail and going through what I went through." And he doesn't regret what his parent decided for him years ago, "thanks to my mom and dad because they brought me here and now I'm going to get the chance I was looking for."
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