President Biden executive action on immigration draws mixed reaction from Chicago residents

Some praise Biden's action, others say it's not enough

Sarah Schulte  Image
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Biden immigration announcement draws mixed reaction from Chicagoans
President Joe Biden gave a speech today, revealing new executive actions to further his immigration plan. It has drawn mixed reaction in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For the past 22 years, Doris Aguirre has carried with her the fear of being sent back to Honduras, even though, the 57-year-old's husband is a United States citizen, and so is one of their daughters. But, like millions of workers, Aguirre came to the U.S. without a visa.

"It's very hard to live here when you don't have any documents," Aguirre said.

ABC7 Chicago is now streaming 24/7. Click here to watch

Aguirre has worked as an independent cleaning lady. But, now her future looks more promising, with President Joe Biden's new immigration policy that gives people lacking permanent legal status married to U.S. citizens a pathway to citizenship. It also protects them from deportation.

Chicago Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia attended Tuesday's White House announcement.

"By doing this, the president has signaled that this country has benefited from the contributions of immigrants, that they deserve a pathway," Garcia said.

President Biden's election year move also offers some help to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients, known as "Dreamers."

Work permits will be expedited for people with a degree from an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning, or for "Dreamers," who have a job offer related to their degrees.

The announcement is bittersweet for "Dreamer" Alondra Segura, who does not have a college degree, but the 22-year-old does own two businesses.

"I have my own home. I have my own family. I pay taxes; I pay the IRS, the state, everybody," Segura said.

Segura, Aguirre and community activist Pastor Emma Lozano say Biden's announcement does not go far enough.

"We're in prayer for all those who have been in the struggle, living here for decades that won't be covered," Lozano said.

While community activists and others will continue to fight for all workers, Republicans were quick to criticize President Biden, calling his announcement "mass amnesty."