President Obama–Don’t Give Up!

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By Janet Hernandez, Senior Civic Engagement Manager, NCLR

When Maria Pacheco lived in Mexico as a young girl, she only saw her father once a year during vacations from his job at a nursery in Northeast Ohio. During the years of separation, Maria’s dream was to have her family together again. Fourteen years ago, that dream seemed to be coming true when Maria and her mother came to the United States to be reunited as a family.

For years, Maria’s parents were involved in the community and attended weekly meetings at HOLA, a community-based organization in Painesville, Ohio. It was at one of HOLA’s meetings that Maria learned about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). She remembers that Tuesday night clearly since the meeting room was packed with community members eager to learn about President Obama’s announcement on administrative relief. Maria immediately applied for DACA.

“When I received my DACA documents in the mail, I remember they said ‘authorized to work.’ I wanted to work so badly. I applied everywhere,” said Maria. “I finally was hired at a store in the mall. I was using my ID card with my name on it and I was so happy to work there, just like any other teenager.”

Later she worked at a local pizzeria to avoid the long ride to the mall. She worked diligently for two years and was promoted to assistant manager. Many Latino families became clients after Maria started working at the pizzeria, helping the business flourish. They were relieved to find someone who could speak to them in their native language.

Maria’s ability to bring in customers who otherwise would have struggled to order their food was possible because of the work permit she obtained through DACA. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the president’s executive actions would increase the gross domestic product by $90–$210 billion, signifying a major boost to the economy. Maria’s case is a real-life example of how that happens.


DACA has changed Maria’s life. Since receiving it, she has obtained a job, is able to pay her taxes, and she will soon attend Lakeland Community College. Maria recently became president of the HOLA youth program and plans to engage and empower other Latino students like her. In May, Maria will also receive a teaching certificate from the Auburn Career Center. It will allow her to work with students as she pursues her career in education. Maria has already been offered a job working with young students during the summer.

“I always wanted to be a teacher. Teachers are role models who contribute to this nation,” said Maria. “Immigrants, like teachers, have a lot to offer to our country” she said.

There are still millions of families waiting for the extension of DACA and the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. Maria’s story is one example of how these programs can create a positive impact in the community and the economy. The administration continues to push for the implementation of these programs, and Maria hopes the momentum doesn’t stop.


I want to tell the president to keep trying, to not give up!” said Maria. “I believe in you, President Obama; my parents should be next. I want to keep my family together.”

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending June 13


Week Ending June 13, 2014

This week in immigration reform: After the shocking loss in the district primary of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), polls find that Rep. Cantor did not lose his primary because of immigration as 72 percent of voters in his district support comprehensive immigration reform; 10 GOP pollsters confirm that Americans want immigration reform done and that doing so will not hurt Republican representatives during their primaries; and in the wake of last week’s release of the new DACA renewal form, NCLR has released a guide to help applicants get information about  the process.

–Voters in Rep Eric Cantor’s District support Immigration Reform. While some commentators were quick to blame Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprising defeat in his district primary on immigration reform, exit polling data suggested that the majority of Republican primary voters in the district support immigration reform. Polling found that 72 percent of voters in Cantor’s district support immigration reform. In South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a strong supporter of immigration reform, won his primary handily, winning nearly 60 percent of the vote and avoiding a run-off.  A number of people responded that the Majority Leader’s loss in the primary did not mean that immigration reform efforts are dead- including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donahue, Reps. Becerra and Gutierrez. Rep. Terry Lee from Nebraska said that other factors led to the primary result more than immigration did.  As Politico points out, polling conducted by conservatives and progressives shows widespread support for reform among voters in the Rep. Cantor’s district.  Rep. McCarthy is expected to be elected the next Majority Leader and advocates continue to urge him and House Republican leadership to give us a vote on immigration.

10 GOP Pollsters confirm that Americans support Immigration Reform. A group of conservative pollsters conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters in May of 2014. They found that 71 percent of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform. The poll established that Republican registered voters supported the proposal by even higher margins, with 81 percent support. The poll also confirmed that among voters who opposed amnesty 75 percent would support an immigration proposal similar to the Senate Bill (S-744). The poll also confirmed that supporting comprehensive immigration reform is smart politics for Representatives as 66 percent of Republican voters said they’d most likely vote for a candidate that supported immigration.

–Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Renewal Guide and FAQ. NCLR has released a factsheet with information and resources that applicants can use when navigating the process. Click here for more information about the renewal process and the requirements for first time applicants.

NCLR and affiliates in action.

  • California: NCLR affiliate TODEC hosted two phone banks in support of immigration reform this past week in California. Over a hundred calls were generated into the offices of Rep. Issa and Gary Miller.

ImmReformUpdate_6_13_2014Volunteers calling into the offices of Reps. Issa and Gary Miller asking for a vote on immigration reform

  • Ohio: Former ELC grantee, HOLA, held a rally in front of the Cleveland ICE office to call on the director of the office to implement ICE policy of granting prosecutorial discretion in cases that are not a priority for removal.  HOLA and community leaders rallied around Luis Padilla, a husband and father of 3 U.S. citizen sons who has lived in Ohio for ten years and contributing to his community.


NCLR urges you honor Father’s Day by joining us in the fight for immigration reform.  Every day, approximately 1,100 people are deported and we need a solution.Fathers_day_sharegraphic (2)

Remembering Moms Who Can’t Be With Their Families This Mother’s Day


Anabel Barron of Lorain, Ohio is facing deportation and being separated from her children.

While mothers across the country are celebrated this weekend, we must also remember that for many, this day is bittersweet for the myriad families that have been ripped apart because of a broken immigration system. For many of these families, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of all the work left to do to fix our immigration system so that not one more family is separated.

One individual working to fix immigration is Anabel Barron from Lorain, Ohio. Barron, 33, is a mother of four U.S. citizens, a social worker, and a Ohio resident. She is also undocumented and in the middle of deportation proceedings that could very soon result in being separated from her own family.

We caught up with Barron after a rally in North Carolina to talk about her own story and about what she’s doing in the fight for immigration reform so that no more families are broken up.

NCLR: Why is immigration reform important to you and why do you think we need it?

Barron: It’s important because it’s affecting me. I’m a single mother of four US citizens. If immigration reform doesn’t pass, I’m going to be sent back to Mexico. I don’t want to go back. I came when I was 16 y/o and now I’m 33. I don’t feel like there’s anything for me in Mexico anymore. It’s important because 12 million people will benefit from this. These are innocent people, not criminals.

NCLR: What kind of difficulties did you face in getting to the United States? When did you find out about your deportation?

Barron: I came to the United States with my parents when I was 16. Shortly after arriving in San Antonio, I met my future husband and got married. I started my own life, my own family. My mom decided to move back to Mexico and I stayed in the US with my husband.

In December 2001, I was living a normal life. It’s also the time I got a call that my mother had passed. I was then faced with a difficult decision, the toughest one of my life. It was a shock to me. It took me at least five hours to decide to go to her funeral. I had two small children, citizens, who I also had to think about and I knew I didn’t have the documentation to get back here.

I went to Mexico by myself. I only went for one week. It took me another week just to get back to cross the border. At first I was detained and sent back. I was determined to get back, though. I had my two girls to get back to. After trying to cross again, I made it and my husband was in San Antonio waiting and we drove back to Ohio. After returning, I applied for a green card, with the help of my brothers who were citizens. I received a letter saying it was approved, but I was told that I had to wait for them to make it official. I’ve always carried that letter with me because I knew sooner or later something would happen and I felt like the letter would protect me.

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In May 2013, as I was going to work, I was stopped for speeding. The police officer started asking me questions unrelated to a routine traffic stop. She didn’t ask for insurance, registration, nothing like that. Instead she was asking questions about my English, asked how long I was in this country. I had to be honest and told her 16 years. Her reply, “Well, I don’t know what to do with you.” She called another officer who then called the border patrol. I was detained for about four hours at the police station. I drove my car there, but it was eventually taken away. I was given the option of going home, but I was also told that the border patrol would be there waiting. I didn’t want that to happen because my kids were there, so I decided to just deal with it at the police dept. It was a nightmare, though they were very nice to me. They told me that since I was “clean” and had no prior problems that I could go back to my kids. I was processed and that’s when my deportation proceedings began.

It’s all very tiring. Right now I just try to spend as much time with my kids as I can. If immigration reform doesn’t pass, sooner or later they’re going to deport me. And, every year I have to apply and I know one day they won’t approve it.

NCLR: You have been in the U.S. for quite some time, and by all accounts you’re American. What is a typical day like for you as an undocumented immigrant?

Barron: Well, right now, I get up at 6 a.m., wake up my kids and get them fed and then to school by 7:15. Then I get ready to go to work at El Centro de Servicios by 8:30. I’m a caseworker and I work with the Latino community. I’m there until about 4, go home, make dinner for my kids, and afterward, we usually take a walk. I try to enjoy as much time with my kids as possible.

NCLR: Your children are American citizens, yet the government wants to tear you all apart. How do you explain to them what is happening with their mother?

HouseImmigrationBill_pic_newBarron: They already know. They’re a part of HOLA. I involve my kids in HOLA, so they know it’s not just me. There is a whole community suffering. They’re not embarrassed because I’ve told them there is nothing to be ashamed of, we’re not criminals. They understand. And, I’ve told them that if I get deported, I want them to be their best. I don’t regret coming here. I’ve had a beautiful life here and my kids are going to have an even better one. I’ve told them not to give up on their dreams. My kids also know that they’re going to stay here with a family member in Texas if I get deported.

NCLR: How are you involved in the fight to pass immigration reform in Congress? What is your message to others to get involved?

Barron: I sit on immigration panels, I go to universities colleges, I go to schools, I go to rallies, I go to Mayors’ offices. I do whatever it takes to get people to understand. I’m very involved. We need to do a lot of education. I’ve discovered that doing this is my passion. If I can help others speak up, I do it. I do this with all my heart.I’m willing to do whatever it takes to pass immigration reform.

NCLR: On this Mother’s Day, what message do you have for House Republicans who don’t want to vote on an immigration reform bill?

Barron: My message is for them is this: I know they’re very busy. I know they’re working on a lot of issues, but they should just stop for a minute and think about how many families are impacted by this issue. We are a part of this community [Ohio], but they just don’t want to admit it. I want them to think about the kids and the families that are being hurt. How can they go home and have a meal with their kids when they’re separating families? I felt like my life was ending when they told me I was getting deported. Without my kids, I don’t have a life. It’s time for them to pass immigration.

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending January 17


Week Ending January 17, 2014

This week in immigration reform: in line with what other House Republicans have been saying, Rep. Doug LaMalfa calls on Congress to get something done on immigration reform; NCLR fights a proposal in the Senate that sought to deny the Child Tax Credit to families of four million U.S. citizen children; the Congress passes an Appropriations bill that funds both good and bad immigration programs; and NCLR meets with a House working group to discuss the year ahead for immigration reform.  Emerging Latino Communities (ELC) grantee HOLA (Hispanas Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula) kept the spotlight on the need for reform by gathering the community for a 20-mile pilgrimage from Lake County to Cleveland in support of staying the deportation of a married father of three children.  NCLR kept the community informed as always this, with staff quoted in CNN Mexico, Terra, and VOXXI.

California Republican comes out in support of immigration reform.  Last week, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) made what he described as a “pivot” by coming out in support of immigration reform.   The conservative Congressman said he changed his mind after talking to farmers who told him that their businesses couldn’t survive without immigrant labor.  Echoing other House Republicans, Rep. LaMalfa said that something needs to get done, and done soon, on immigration reform.

NCLR fights to protect Child Tax Credit for immigrant families as jobless benefits debate continues.  This week NCLR fought to preserve access to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for all qualified families by strongly voicing its opposition to an amendment to the Senate jobless benefits bill that sought to eliminate the CTC for tax filers who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).  This proposal, offered by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H), would have adversely affected over 4 million U.S. citizen children.

Ultimately the amendment was not brought to a vote.  NCLR will continue to educate lawmakers on the importance of the CTC for eligible filers and oppose any changes that would hurt Latino families.  Continue reading