President's speech on immigration gives local immigrants hope
DALTON, GA (WRCB) -
President Obama's immigration reform will not create any more citizens, but it can give people a temporary legal status to work or get an education in the United States.
The executive orders will also expand deferred action to people who have children born in the United States, or whose children have a green card.
It's still too early to tell what the local impact will be on the President's immigration reform, but immigrants hope it will create more opportunities for anyone here illegally.
"My grandma told my dad to come over here there's better jobs, and better education for me," said Jose Alvarez of Dalton.
Alvarez left mexico when he was six years old.
Now, at 21, he works at La Esperanza bakery with his mother.
"My mom and dad try and tell me things, like the schools I went to, and it's totally different over there," He said of his childhood in Mexico.
Alvarez came to the US illegally but is in the process of making it right.
He says serving customers at the bakery is a much better job than if he had stayed in mexico.
"Yea completely different, because like over there, the most common job to do is like working the fields," he said.
At the bakery in Dalton, spanish is the language of choice and employees know many of their customers are living here illegally.
"Whenever they see police, or the ICE, it's just mainly fear," said employee Eliza Alfaro.
But after hearing news of President Obama's immigration reform, there's now hope among the community.
A Chattanooga attorney who specializes in immigration law said the recent changes will not grant citizenship to illegal immigrants.
"It doesn't give citizenship, it doesn't give a pathway to a green card," said Amber Seay of Baker Donelson Law Offices, "It's just saying as of right now under my presidency you can have work authorization and you can remain for three years."
Alvarez is working at the bakery until he can start going to college. His enrollment depends on his current status. He plans on studying either forensics or human resources.
"When I graduated I couldn't," Alvarez said, "So now that I got the permit I started going to school."
Alvarez filled out his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application in 2012.
"And i'm just waiting for my application to get my residency approved," he said.
Being an executive order, once a new president takes office all of these changes can be undone.