Northwesterners React To Obama Immigration Announcement

Jun 18, 2012

There's mixed reaction here in the Northwest to President Obama's decision to change deportation policies.  The administration announced Friday that it would no longer deport young adults who entered the country illegally before the age of 16, and who meet certain other requirements.

Groups that oppose illegal immigration are unanimous in their criticism of the President's decision. Leon Donahue of suburban Tacoma-based Washingtonians For Immigration Reform called it a calculated political move.  Leon Donahue: "He's doing everything he can to grab the Hispanic vote. He's desperate. He's going downhill. And he's using this as a tool to get re-elected."

But groups that support an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws called the announcement "exciting" and "a step in the right direction."  

Fredy Zarate is a community college student in Seattle. He says his aunt brought him to the U.S. from Mexico at age nine and he's now studying to be a corporate accountant. He says the President's announcement takes a weight off his shoulders.  "It allows me to come out from a shadow that has been over me for so long, because I never told any of my friends," Zarate says. "And now I'm not scared."

Zarate says he's been able to afford college because Washington allows resident undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition rates. That's not the case in Oregon despite repeated attempts in the legislature to allow the same.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network