Morristown group on President’s immigration speech: ‘Gratitude, relief and frustration’

Cristian Dardon, left. Photo courtesy of Wind of the Spirit.
Cristian Dardon, left. Photo courtesy of Wind of the Spirit.
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Editor’s note: The opinions here reflect those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of this publication.

By Ilana Rossoff, Wind of the Spirit

Wind of the Spirit community members gathered last night in Morristown and Dover to watch the announcement of President Obama who is taking executive action to prevent the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

As per the President’s announcement, this executive order will allow undocumented parents of citizen- or legal resident children, who have been in the US for more than five years, to apply for a work permit and be protected from deportation for three years.

Members of Wind of the Spirit watch President Obama's immigration speech. Photo courtesy of Wind of the Spirit.
Members of Wind of the Spirit watch President Obama’s immigration speech. Photo courtesy of Wind of the Spirit.

This is not a path to residency or citizenship, and is not a permanent solution. It is a temporary relief, a deep breath and a way to work and drive with recognition and without fear, for those who qualify.

Wind of the Spirit community members gathered to watch the President’s announcement Thursday night.

The announcement was met with gratitude, relief, and also frustration. While this is estimated to apply to almost five million people, it does not apply to anyone who does not have US-born children, even people who have been in this country for 15-20 years but did not have children.

There are many of our community members who have been waiting for relief who do not qualify for this. As such we must help those who qualify to apply and reap the benefits, and keep fighting for immigration reform that is inclusive of all undocumented immigrants who contribute to our society and are waiting to come out of the shadows.

It is very demoralizing for those of us who are undocumented and have been working for years to achieve justice for our community, and still are not included.

Cristian Dardon has been a core member of Wind of the Spirit for almost 15 years and is a community leader at Saint Margaret’s Church in Morristown, and he does not qualify for this relief.

Cristian Dardon, left. Photo courtesy of Wind of the Spirit.
Cristian Dardon, left. Photo courtesy of Wind of the Spirit.

“Really I feel still a lot of uncertainty because I don’t know what will happen to me still, and there are a lot of people who are in the same situation as me. I have lived in the U.S. for 20 years now and because I don’t have children I can’t apply through any children. So I think it is also unjust that I won’t qualify even though I always pay my taxes and I am very active in the community, and live a peaceful life and don’t get into trouble.

“There is still a lot of work to do, we have to continue until there is a truly just and comprehensive immigration reform for everyone. Honestly I see this situation as just a political game to win votes for the next election. But where does that leave us?” Dardon said.

As we said and did with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, we receive this announcement with dignity, humility and a commitment to continue fighting for the dignity and justice that we deserve.

For anyone who wants more information on if they qualify for this relief, please contact the Wind of the Spirit Immigration Services program at 973-538-2035. Please refer others to our office to avoid misinformation and fraud.

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