Nearly 2 million can apply for relief from deportation - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Nearly 2 million can apply for relief from deportation

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Columbus State University senior, Luis Ortiz, came to the United States from Mexico when he was four years old. He legally entered the county on his mother's visa.

Although President Obama's new policy giving special consideration to certain illegal immigrants doesn't directly affect Luis, he's happy to see many others get relief from deportation.

"They're pretty much American, their culture is here, their friends are here but up until now, they've had no other means to adjust their status," said Ortiz.

People younger than 30 who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can apply.

"For all intents and purposes, they're pretty much American, culture is here, they grew up here," said Luiz Ortiz, president of the Columbus Hispanic Organization. "All their memories are here- friends and family are here. But, up until now they've had no other means to adjust their schedules."

It's measure that raises concerns for Blanca Chavec, a cashier at Brito's Market on South Lumpkin Road.

"We can get nothing," Chavec said. "We pay taxes and they get everything; they get all the benefits that we should get."

Chavec said she has no problems with students who apply for the ‘deferred action' and put it to good use by working or going to school. It's those who might take advantage of the federal government that concerns her.

Chavec's store manager, Olga Brio, added she's turned away several illegal immigrants who don't have documentation.

"It's hard because I really want to help them, but I can't do anything," Brio said.

Critics call it pandering by the White House during an election year, explained Jim Vinson, a Columbus voter.

"It's an adequate time for him (Obama) to bring out this legislation," Vinson said. "I think it's a political move."

Among the nearly two million people who can apply for the stop gap measure, good for two years, 24,360 are from Georgia.

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