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The Undocumented are Holding their Breath

November 8, 2016
Plain English Version


A young Mexican woman lives in Virginia. She came to the US when she was 11 years old. She is now 27. She is undocumented. She applied for asylum. They told her she did not meet the requirements. They rejected her request. Now, what?

The government said it would ‘pause’ her application proceedings. That meant they would not deport her right away. She still is not a legal resident. But, for the time being, she can stay in the US.

In a sense, the uncertainty of her case is the story of all the undocumented. She at least has some legal status. Most of the undocumented do not. The outcome of this election will go a long way toward setting their fate.

What has the US Congress done? Nothing. So the president issued a rule on legal status. It allowed some undocumented young people to stay in the US to work or hold jobs. It is the deferred action or the Dreamers program.

He issued two more rules. They allowed some undocumented parents to stay in the country. He also added to the number of young people who could stay. The Supreme has said those rules cannot go into effect.

What does this election mean?

If Mrs. Clinton wins, she will continue Mr. Obama’s efforts. If Mr. Trump wins, he has vowed to deport the undocumented. He said he would cancel Obama’s orders.

In some states, the key to victory for Mrs. Clinton will be the vote of Latino citizens. Arizona is such a state. People can vote before election day. Reports are that Hispanics are voting in record numbers.

One of Mr. Obama’s rules allows the Dreamers to visit their homeland. It is usually Mexico. Young people sometimes come back from these trips full of uncertainty. One young man said, “I do not know if I am a Mexican in disguise. Or a Mexican trying to be American.”

That uncertainty may sum up the feelings of many of the undocumented. This vote for president matters.  The fate of the undocumented is on the line.

Source: The New York Times November 4, 2016

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