Reports that President Obama soon will announce drastic changes to the country's immigration policies won't stop a protest against the administration's current policies.
Obama's plan, as reported by the New York Times, potentially could shield several million people from deportation, but an organizer with the Puente Human Rights Movement tells New Times that the news doesn't affect the group's protest planned for later today at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix.
"[Obama] hasn't made an announcement yet, and there have been previous times and a lot of rumors about Obama making a decision, and it's been delayed," Francisca Porchas says, adding, "We feel a great deal of responsibility, after so much work, for us to continue to push on him."
Puente has led dozens and dozens of anti-deportation protests in Phoenix and elsewhere, even protesting at the headquarters of the state's Democratic Party, blasting it as the "deportation party."
According to the New York Times, a major part of Obama's announcement -- which could be made as early as next week -- would prevent the deportation of many parents whose children are U.S. citizens or legal residents.
From the Times:
That part of Mr. Obama's plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.
Extending protections to more undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and to their parents, could affect an additional one million or more if they are included in the final plan that the president announces.
Unless this comes straight from Obama, Puente isn't pleased.
"Thousands of those people could be prevented from being deported if Obama acts today," Porchas tells us.
There's a similar sentiment in a Facebook page promoting the protest:
We've been told to be patient. We've been told our families can wait until after the midterm elections, until the next holiday, until the end of the year. But every day, we are losing 1,100 of our loved ones to deportation. The deportations haven't slowed and we can't wait one more day. Join us for a rally and speak out to tell the President that we will not be taken for granted anymore. We want nothing less than administrative relief for ALL our community, and we want it today, before we lose one more person to the deportation machine.
Puente plans to rally at the Phoenix ICE office specifically to call for the release of Norma Bernal Gutierrez a single mother of four who has been in immigration detention for 10 months.
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Porchas pointed out that Obama's planned action could likely apply to Gutierrez, whose four children are each U.S. citizens who were born in Phoenix.
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