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Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Immigrant New Yorkers hold on to hope despite suspension of Obama’s relief programs

Their dreams are on hold — but many immigrant New Yorkers say they’re holding onto hope despite a federal judge’s ruling suspending President Obama’s relief programs.

Queens College student Francisco Curiel had been planning to apply Wednesday for a work permit and social security card, and his mom was set to send in a bid this spring.

Instead, both learned this week that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had indefinitely postponed taking applications for Obama’s executive actions, which grant deportation reprieves to parents of U.S. citizens and wider numbers of immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as kids.

“I woke up in the morning to go to class, and checked my email, and felt like, what is going on? Is this really happening? ” said Curiel, 22, who emigrated from Mexico as a teen.

Curiel just missed the date cutoff to apply for relief under Obama’s first executive action, back in 2012. That program is continuing.

Now, he’s disappointed again.

“I feel like this is not a joke. This is not a game, where you play with a toy. This is real people, people that have been working really hard to get this opportunity,” said Curiel, speaking at a New York Immigration Coalition rally Wednesday in the Manhattan offices of union 32BJ SEIU.

Late Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas temporarily blocked Obama’s immigration moves in order to give a coalition of 26 states more time to pursue their lawsuit, which aims to kill the programs.

Critics of Obama’s immigrant actions say the President did not have the legal authority to make them. The White House has vowed to appeal.

At the Manhattan rally, Congressman Jose Serrano (D-Bronx) called the block just a “bump in the road.”

Queens mom Monica Morales, 35, said she has been preparing to apply for the program ever since Obama announced it last year.

“At, first, oh my God. I thought, ‘This can’t be happening, they can’t have done this,’” said Morales, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who has a 4-year-old U.S. citizen daughter and is set to give birth to a second child next month.

“But now I think that it will just be a space for us to have more time to prepare, to get ready — and that it will happen.”

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