WICHITA, Kansas – It has been 3 days since President Barack Obama announced sweeping changes to US immigration policy and asked undocumented immigrants to come forward.
One Wichita family is doing just that and sharing their story.
It’s been a rough 15 years for the Hernandez family.
“In 2008 Immigration and Customs Enforcement actually raided our apartment.”
Sharing the same fear as millions like them living in the U.S., the fear of being deported at any moment.
“My parents and I are undocumented. We didn’t come with the proper documents, like most families, we crossed the border.”
Carolina Hernandez said she and her parents, who spoke a little English, migrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1999 when she was just 3 three. They came in search of better medical care, but their reasons for staying progressed to better education and safer living conditions.
Now those fears are slowly turning into relief after the president asked Thursday for undocumented immigrants to come out from the shadows, granting them a 3-year permit for employment and a temporary protection from deportation; as long as they meet certain requirements, pass back-ground checks, and pay taxes.
“I personally just kept the tears in, but I saw my parent actually very happy because it’s a relief not being deported not being separated from your family. It was an emotional night.”
Carolina has already been helped by the 2012 Executive Order that allowed her to get a two-year deferral from deportation and a work permit.
“Now have my work authorization my social security and I go to college I go to WSU.”
The Hernandez family as a whole is grateful for the extended opportunity, but knows there is still much more work that needs to be done to help others like them.
“All we want is an opportunity to work, and getting proper conditions here, and to actually feel secure.”
A recent report by the Pew Research Center cites Kansas as one of 14 states with a huge drop in immigrants living illegally in the United States. The report estimates 20,000 have left Kansas between 2009 and 2012.