Immigrants cheer new federal policy
By Adam Wisnieski
Eduardo Resendiz, a 22-year-old Lehman College student who lives on University Avenue in Kingsbridge Heights, no longer has to live in fear of deportation.
On June 15, President Barack Obama announced a controversial executive order that will allow Mr. Resendiz and others to stay in the country and obtain a work permit.
The policy will apply to undocumented immigrants no older than 30, who arrived in the country before they turned 16 and have lived in the United States for five years. They must not have a criminal record and must have earned a high school diploma or be currently attending or serving in the military.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” said Mr. Resendiz, who immigrated with his family to the United States from Mexico in 2005. “I thought, ‘this can’t be possible.’”
Mr. Resendiz was notified of the nation’s policy early Friday morning by the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy organization he works with and from which he received a scholarship. He’s currently working toward his bachelor’s in music from Lehman College and said that with this policy in place, there’s nothing keeping him from a career.
“I’m going to be a music teacher,” he said confidently.
“It was very depressing knowing if I was walking the street or maybe [the police] thought I was doing something wrong … and perhaps frisk me or arrest me and then have my fingerprints sent to ICE,” he said.
“But now with this policy … I’ll be able to have more peace of mind,” he said.
The plan will protect the same demographic of young immigrants who would have been covered under the yet-to-be-passed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act — or DREAM act — which was first introduced in 2001.
Mr. Obama said the policy aims to help young people who grew up here and are contributing members of society to thrive.