TUSCALOOSA | President Barack Obama’s policy that would prevent young illegal immigrants who meet certain qualifications from being deported has caused a stir in Tuscaloosa’s Hispanic community.
Supporters of the policy change say it eases fears of deportation for some illegal immigrants, although they say it does nothing to protect older illegal immigrants or younger immigrants who don’t meet the policy’s qualifications.
The new policy also comes into conflict with Alabama’s immigration law, considered the most restrictive in the country.
One illegal immigrant, 20-year-old Lourbes, who moved to Tuscaloosa from Queretaro, Mexico, when she was 10, qualifies under the new policy. She said she plans to apply for a work permit as soon as that process is open.
Lourbes graduated from high school in Tuscaloosa and does factory work in Tuscaloosa.
She said she’s happy about the policy change.
“I think it’s awesome news because students and us as young people didn’t know we were violating the law crossing into another country when we came here,” Lourbes said. “We just wanted to meet our parents and have a better life.”
Lourbes said her parents came to the U.S. when she was 3, leaving her and her brother in Mexico with their grandparents.
When she was 10 and her brother was 9, they joined their parents in the U.S.
“My parents wanted to wait to bring us over because they were trying to raise money,” she said.
“They were gone the whole time and I was so glad to see them. My brother and I never had in our minds that this is wrong according to the law. We just wanted to be with our parents.”