Some families in the Coachella Valley are no longer living in fear that they may be separated from their loved ones. This, one day after President Obama announced his plan to shield millions of immigrants living in the country illegally from deportation.
Families we spoke with Friday were overjoyed by the president’s executive action.
“We are just thankful that this happened,” said undocumented teen Luis Ochoa.
Ochoa, 16, and his mother Aurora are the only two members of their family who are undocumented.
“My mom’s biggest fear was to walk, even walking my little brother to school knowing that she was going to get stopped. I would always look at her with that face and she would always be worried about it,” said Ochoa.
Luis, couldn’t fully participate on his traveling soccer team.
“It gets to a point where I get nervous and I just tell my coach, I just make up an excuse oh I’m sick or I can’t make it,” said Ochoa.
Now with the President’s decision they are eligible to apply for temporary legal status.
“I was very happy with what the President said because now there is hope that we don’t have to go out into the streets in fear, even though we can’t go to Mexico at least we are protected,” said Aurora Ochoa.
Guillermina Lara is in the same situation, having lived in the U.S. for 17 years.
“It’s very difficult but we do it for our children so they have a better future,” said Lara through an interpreter. “They help her keep going everyday.”
“She is a great mother,” said her son Rafael.
Lara’s oldest child graduated from high school. Ochoa’s oldest, a U.S. citizen, not only graduated high school, but entered college. These are opportunities both women say would not have happened if they returned to Mexico.
“The only reason we came to this country was to provide a better future for our children,” said Ochoa.
“She believes that life will be a lot different from now on,” said Lara.
“Now it gives me hope because, not just for me but to a lot of people around here, they are going to be really happy,” said Luis Ochoa.
It will be six months before Lara and Ochoa can begin the application process, but they are beginning to gather their paperwork now.
Local immigration attorneys do caution, beware of scammers asking for money before this officially takes affect.