Mayim Islam said President Obama’s executive action on immigration will change everything for his family. Meanwhile Carlos Mora, 45, waited 18 years for Thursday night.
Mayim Islam grew up in Queens knowing that his parents lived in fear. They left him in Bangladesh when they moved to the U.S., but were able to bring their son to New York when he was 9.
“From the moment I came here, they were honest with me about my immigration status,” said Islam, 22, of Jackson Heights. “There was a sense of fear they instilled in us, to be worried about law enforcement, not to do anything bad that could get you deported.”
Islam said President Obama’s executive action on immigration will change everything for his family. An activist, he has fought “for my parents to have Social Security cards and legally work here, and contribute to a country where they have spent 20 years of their life — and most of all not to worry about being taken away from their sons,” he said.
He hopes his parents will now be able to travel.
“When my grandfather passed away, my mother not being able to see him,” he said. “That’s a sacrifice she made on my behalf.”
Meanwhile Carlos Mora, 45, waited 18 years for Thursday night.
President Obama may grant him his wish to hug and kiss the two children and elderly parents he hasn’t seen since he left Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1996.
“The President’s plan will help me find that light I haven’t seen in the middle of this dark tunnel for nearly 20 years,” said the Bushwick father of five, two of whom still live in his native land. “I have lived all these years in the shadows, unable to see my children and parents.”
Mora said he left his police officer job in 1996 to support his two small children.
“They just didn’t pay enough to offer my family a better future,” he said.
He stayed with a sister on the Upper East Side and quickly got a job at a pizza shop. “I arrived on a Saturday and started working on a Sunday,” he recalled. “We immigrants come to work hard. But I cried every night.”
He eventually remarried and had three more children. He kept wiring money to send his oldest daughter to medical school and his son to law school, he said. “I have been undocumented all this time. Only the President and the other politicians can change that,” he said. “I have stayed in touch with my oldest children using the Internet. My mother says she hopes I go back before she dies. She’s getting old.”
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