There was a range of emotions Friday at the Jackson Heights office of immigrant advocates “Make The Road New York” as they watched President Barack Obama discuss his administration’s new immigration reform policy.
“It’s like a dream come true,” said Adriana Pasto. “It’s exciting. It’s all I was waiting for. It’s my life. It’s my future. It’s the most beautiful day of my life.”
The day was especially meaningful for one group of young people, many of whom are undocumented residents that currently attend college in the city. The president’s order means those who are under 30 and were brought here before they were 16 no longer have to live in constant fear of deportation.
“I saw what was going on in Arizona, Oklahoma, places like that. I thought it was going to be like that. I thought they were going to do something like that in New York, so I was worried about it,” said Oscar Chico, a Mexico City native. “I want to succeed in life. I don’t want to do anything bad to this country or affect anyone around me so now I’m in college, I go to Parsons, the New School for Design and yeah, that’s my dream. I want to be an art teacher and I want to keep fighting for this. I want to keep helping my friends.”
While they say this is an historic first step, those who spoke with NY1 say the next step should be passage of the DREAM Act which would pave the way for their U.S. citizenship.
“We will not stop, and this is not enough, definitely,” said Make The Road New York Youth Organizer Natalia Aristizbal. “We’re grateful for today but the fight continues and we need more.”
Francisco Curiel, 20, a Mexico City native and current Queens resident, agrees there is more work ahead. But he is also enjoying the moment.
“I never lose my faith,” he said. “Today, finally we are making history.”
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