Host 1: We’re back with Uptown Radio. I’m Cassandra Basler.
Host 2: And I’m her partner in crime, Tyler Daniels.
Host 1: There are just hours left for Congress to avoid a partial shutdown of the nation’s Homeland Security Department.
Host 2: If the House doesn’t pass legislation to finance the government agency in the next several hours, Homeland Security will run out of money at midnight.
Host 1: The debate over funding the agency reflects a greater fight over President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. A federal judge in Texas halted the launch of a program last week that would have prevented 4 million people from being deported. Adélie Pontay reports that without the program, advocates and immigrant communities are scrambling on what to do next.
One week after his executive order was put on hold, President Obama held a town hall style in Miami on Wednesday. One of the questions for the president came from Eric Narvaez. He returned from Afghanistan in 2011.
“I came back, I’m a wounded warrior. Only to find out that I’m fighting another war with my mother trying to keep here.”
Narvaez means making sure that she’s not deported. That’s because his mother is undocumented. And yet, he wouldn’t have been able to join the army at 17 without her permission.
“If it wasn’t for her signing those papers, I wouldn’t have been able to join this great American army. So I wanna ask you if there’s any way that this situation might be able a little better.”
“Well first of all, let me just say thank you for your service. You’re a great example of why this issue is so important.”
For the president, Narvaez’s mother is exactly the kind of person his immigration reform was supposed to help. But now everything is on hold after a federal judge put the breaks on the program the night before it was supposed to launch. The situation is at stalemate and Obama’s administration has appealed the decision in the fifth court of appeal. In the mean time, Narvaez’s mother has to sit tight.
“I’m confident that your mother qualifies under the executive action program that I’ve put forward.”
The president is saying what all immigrants rights organization have been saying this past week. On the ground, immigrants rights groups like Make The Road New York, held a phone info session earlier this week.
“Buenas noches a todos, ahora si officalmente empeza la llamada.”
“Good evening everyone,” greeted the organizers in Spanish at the start of the session on Tuesday. After a recap of last week’s news, organizers gave advice. Antonio, a local leader in Queens, says there is no reason to be desperate.
“En ningun momento quisieramos que nos procupemos peor desperarnos de que eso no va a pasar.”
Dont give up, that’s the message advocates want to get across.
“This is a minor speedbump.”
That’s Thanu Yakupitiyage. She works at the New York Immigration Coalition, they coordinate more than 160 organizations in New York in order to make sure everyone gets accurate information.
“We did actually anticipate that there was going to be a lot of anti-immigrant legal attacks and this is what this is.”
According to her, there’s a silver lining to this delay.
“We’re not changing anything, our work has not has not been thrown off, you know in fact we’ve actually been in some ways given more time to prepare.”
Cesar Vargas agrees with her. He’s a lawyer, a long-time activist and an undocumented immigrant himself.
“It was expected for us, you know, this is round one. The fight is not over, but we eventually know we’re gonna win.”
Until the fifth circuit court of court of appeal reaches a new ruling, and that could take months, the future is uncertain.
Adélie Pontay, Columbia Radio News.