Undocumented immigrants find renewed hope in president’s action

World Today

Laura Moreno, of Nampa, Idaho, hugs her good friend Krista Busmante after watching President Obama’s speech on immigration reform Thursday. (AP Photo/The Press-Tribune, Adam Eschbach)

President Obama’s expected executive action on his immigration plan could help people like Arturo Hernandez Garcia. Garcia is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who is fighting his deportation from inside a Denver church.

Garcia’s home is a small room in a church that he dares not leave even for a minute.

“[If] I try to go outside, I can be arrested for immigration,” Garcia said.

Garcia, 42, left Mexico for the U.S. with his wife and newborn daughter 15 years ago, overstayed his visa, and lived a quiet life in Colorado until four years ago when he got into an argument with a man at his job site.

“The man spoke with the supervisor and said that I had threatened him with a knife, which I hadn’t done, and he said that he was going to call the police,” Garcia said.

Although Garcia was cleared of charges after he was arrested, immigration authorities began working to deport him. Finally, he was told to leave the country a month ago.

That same day, First Unitarian Church offered him sanctuary. It’s one of a handful of U.S. churches now providing refuge to undocumented immigrants, thereby shielding them from deportation.

“We are answering the prophetic call of immigrants whose families and livelihoods are under attack,” said Jennifer Piper the Colorado interfaith organizing director at the American Friends Service Committee.

Garcia, who has a small flooring business in Denver, whose youngest daughter was born in the U.S., and whose wife’s parents are U.S. citizens, is one of millions of people in this country who could benefit from a presidential executive action on immigration.

“I hope so. Obama has been promising us for six years that he’s going to do something,” Garcia said.

Garcia has petitioned the government to stay in the United States, and leave the church freely.


Click on the year slider at the top to see changes over time. Apprehensions measure the number of foreign nationals caught being in the U.S. illegally. Countries with no data, not applicable data, or where ‘data withheld to limit disclosure’ are not included.

CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reported this story from Denver.

Undocumented immigrants hope presidential announcement will allow them to live freely in US

President Obama’s expected executive action on his immigration plan could help people like Arturo Hernandez Garcia. Garcia is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who is fighting his deportation from inside a Denver church. CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reported this story from Denver.


Undocumented immigrants speak out in Florida

Florida is among the U.S. states with large populations without legal immigration status. Almost a million people have moved to the state between 2009-2012 and they have high hopes for Obama’s immigration address. CCTV America’s Nitza Soledad Perez reported the story from Miami, Florida.

Undocumented immigrants speak out in Florida

Florida is among the U.S. states with large populations without legal immigration status. Almost a million people have moved to Florida between 2009 and 2012. What are they expecting from the immigration address? CCTV America's Nitza Soledad Perez reported the story from Florida.

“Citizens of Latino origins have voted for him and he has just played an act for them, it is all a big lie, he is a puppet of Congress,” said an undocumented Florida resident named Heriberto, who did not give his last name.
Heriberto said he is very apprehensive of Obama’s address announcing executive action for undocumented residents in the country.

“We are here because we have no papers. If I had papers, I would have a job right now,” said Heriberto.

Obama promised voters an immigration overhaul during his first year in office in 2008, yet he also deported more illegal residents than any of his predecessors, an average of 400,000 a year.

“The undocumented have rights too. They are working in this country and they deserve at least a driver license, a permit that can allow them to bring food to their families,” said Carlos Franco, a legal resident in Florida.

But not everyone agrees with the idea of Obama allowing work authorization to millions of undocumented people.

“[They should] Not just [get] a permit to stay freely. Because they just came illegally and just stayed, they should go through a process,” said Lazaro Espinosa, a Cuban American from Florida.


Undocumented immigrant Richard Hornos discusses impact of US immigration policy

CCTV America interviewed Richard Hornos, a undocumented immigrant who moved to the United States in 2005 with his family from Uruguay and is an activist for immigration reform.

Undocumented immigrant Richard Hornos discusses impact of US immigration policy

CCTV America interviewed Richard Hornos, a undocumented immigrant who moved to the United States in 2005 with his family from Uruguay and is an activist for immigration reform.


Idalia Cervantes shares her family’s story

Idalia Cervantes speaks to CCTV America about how immigration policy changes will affect her life.

Idalia Cervantes shares her family\'s immigration story

Idalia Cervantes speaks to CCTV America about how immigration policy changes will affect her life.


Number of undocumented Mexicans into US drops

U.S. government figures show that the number of unauthorized Mexicans attempting to enter the United States has actually fallen in recent years. CCTV America’s Franc Contreras reported this story from Mexico City.

During the 1990s and most of this century, the largest number of migrants to the United States came from Mexico. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, from 2009-2013, the Obama administration deported more than two million people. The vast majority of them, according to the Pew Research Center, were Mexicans.

Valeria Aragon was born in Mexico City. When she was 16, her parents took her to Naples, Florida, where she graduated from high school and studied at Florida International University.

In 2007, U.S. agents detained her, but told her that a voluntary deportation would appear in her record. But she said that didn’t happen. Aragon also said her family will be directly affected by Obama’s immigration reforms.

Number of undocumented Mexicans into US drops

U.S. government figures show that the number of unauthorized Mexicans attempting to enter the United States has actually fallen in recent years. CCTV America’s Franc Contreras reported this story from Mexico City.