DREAMers turn out in big numbers for immigration town hall - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

DREAMers turn out in big numbers for immigration town hall meeting

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Hundreds of young adults turned out for an immigration town hall in southwest Houston on the heels of President Obama's big announcement.

The President said last week he won't deport some illegal immigrants.  Now families are scrambling to find out if they qualify for relief.
 
"My life depends on it, my future, mine and my kids.  I'm a single mom," said Thalia Garcia, an undocumented immigrant.
 
They showed up with paperwork, questions and high hopes their lives may no longer be in limbo.  
 
"Maybe I won't have to worry I can't stay in the country I was raised in, or if I have to go back to the country I know nothing about," said Alan Gonzalez, another undocumented immigrant.
 
More than 500 young immigrants known as DREAMers packed the Baker Ripley Center.  The event was so popular an overflow area had to be set up outside.
 
"Today's event is to educate the community about the deferred action President Obama presented on June 15th," said Emiliano Herrera, Neighborhood Centers, Inc.
 
It's not permanent residency but a two year period of temporary protection.  Illegal immigrants under 30 who came to the U.S. before turning 16 can apply.  It's estimated more than a million people will benefit.  For each of them, it means a chance to be normal.
 
"Go to college, have a better life for my kids, buy a house.  I want to have a restaurant one day," said Garcia.
 
Critics call the President's announcement political pandering and say the plan isn't well thought out.
 
"It's a stop gap measure.  We can't keep track of the people in the country now whose visas are expiring.  Now we're going to add who knows how many other people whose visas will expire every two years?  Where's the mechanism to track that?" said Bob Price, with Texas GOP Vote.  
 
Immigration attorneys hope to answer as many questions as they can from a crowd hungry for information.  
 
"This is a population that could be taken advantage of easily.  They want something.  They want something badly," said Herrera.
 
For now students are counting on this one small victory as a step toward their dream.
 
Another town hall is scheduled for next week, Wednesday June 27th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ripley House Neighborhood Center.  It's located at 4410 Navigation Blvd., Houston, TX  77011.

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