Joanne ____ is one of America’s twelve million illegal immigrants. She was brought to the United States from Mexico as a baby by her parents. She has a younger sister and brother who are American citizens because they were born in the United States. Her sister is in her last year at Harvard; her brother is in high school.
Five years ago alumni of the North Hollywood High School Class of 1957 decided, as part of their 50th reunion, to give a scholarship to a deserving senior. The school’s top choice was Joanne, and so she was awarded the scholarship. With that financial help and her own tenacity and hard work Joanne got her degree from the California State University, Northridge, a year ago. She’s spent much of the past year looking for work, but it’s been a hopeless case because she can’t produce the necessary papers.
Until yesterday, when President Obama announced that the United States would no longer consider deporting people like Joanne—people who had been brought here illegally as children, earned a high school diploma or GED, or served in the military, and had behaved well—had what we would call a record of good citizenship, were they citizens. Moreover the government will give them permits to work in the US for two years, renewable indefinitely.
In effect the President granted by executive action much of what the Dream Act—stymied only by an especially ugly Republican filibuster (more…)