Undocumented Youth End Sit-in Skeptical of New Immigration Policy
The undocumented students engaged in an overnight sit-in on June 15 at President Obama’s campaign headquarters in Oakland - only to later leave the premises after being denied access to basic services - say the president’s recent shift in immigration policy had nothing to do with the termination of the sit-in.
When one protester left to use the restroom he was locked out by security. In addition, a security team, hired to “watch over” the protesters, refused to allow food to be given to them.
Calls and emails to the Obama for America headquarters in Oakland were not returned in time for this publication.
Luis Nolasco, 21, was one of the last protesters to leave the campaign headquarters and said that he and his companions will continue to fight for the rights of undocumented youth. He said the recent high-profile statement by the Obama administration - declaring that some youth will be eligible for a work visa - was a direct response to similar sit-ins coordinated by the National Immigrant You Alliance, across the U.S. including Denver, Los Angeles and Cincinnati.
The measure does not go nearly far enough and deserves scrutiny, according to Nolasco. He referenced Obama’s promise, last year, to use “prosecutorial discretion” for students eligible for citizenship under the DREAM Act. Yet, in 2011, approximately 400,000 migrants were deported from the United States including students eligible for the DREAM act.
Nolasco said Obama’s statement has some similarities to the “prosecutorial discretion” comment in that “it provides relief case by case … and that in itself means it might not apply to everyone.”
Pablo Paredes, founder of 67 Sueños, a group of undocumented youth fighting for legislative rights to citizenship, also was skeptical that Obama’s recent statement meant relief for young migrants.
“There are many question about what happens after the two year mark. Is it safe to out all your information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to get a work permit for two years not knowing what happens after those two years,” he said.
However, Paredes said he believes President Obama’s statement indicates the influence and power that undocumented youth, “who are supposed to be afraid and in the shadows,” can leverage in a matter of weeks.
“Both the community in general and the movement that put the pressure on him are not gonna be fooled and are going to increase the pressure,” Paredes said.
Source: Oakland Local [http://m.oaklandlocal.com/article/undocumented-youth-end-sit-skeptical-new-immigration-policy]