News / USA

Young Undocumented Immigrants Hopeful with US Policy

Undocumented immigrants cautiously hopeful about Obama policy to stop deporting those who were brought to the US as children.
Undocumented immigrants cautiously hopeful about Obama policy to stop deporting those who were brought to the US as children.
TEXT SIZE - +
Kane Farabaugh
CHICAGO, Illinois - President Obama recently announced the United States would stop deporting undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.  A Pew Research Center study says the shift in policy could help about 1.4 million people currently living illegally in the U.S., including one young woman in Chicago of Palestinian descent.

Alaa Mukahhal was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents.  When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Mukahhal  and her family fled to Jordan.  They obtained visas to enter United States in 1993, where they arrived when  Mukahhal  was six years old.

"The visa expired, and we stayed," explained Mukahhal. Since then, she has lived as an undocumented immigrant, existing in the shadows of society.  

When this reporter first met Mukahhal, she was going door to door in suburban Chicago to encourage Muslim Americans to vote in the 2010 mid-term elections, a privilege she is denied.  At the time, Mukahhal did not share much personal information, out of fear of deportation. She was even reluctant to give her name.

"I wasn’t sure what the consequences were," said Mukahhal.  "I didn’t know what would have happened.  I was scared to be honest.  And I hadn’t found that community of support that I needed.  Lots have changed since that original interview.”

Mukahhal is now out of the shadows to tell her story publicly, thanks in part to President Obama’s promise to stop deportation proceedings against illegal immigrants like her.  

"I was a bit surprised, but mostly skeptical, so I like to describe myself right now as cautiously optimistic," she said.

"The very fact that he did it was very important," said Anthony Orum, a visiting professor at the Center for Urban Research at Loyola University in Chicago. "I understand the skepticism, you know, 'Is this going to go through?'  You know if Congress worked better, the Dream Act would have gone through, but things have been stalemated there, 2009, 2010, 2011.  The president had to do something."

Orum says the president’s announcement will likely help his re-election effort in Florida and other states with large immigrant populations.

But Mukahhal says the announcement alone won’t help her.  She faces a federal judge in Chicago in September, who will decide if she can seek political asylum to prevent her deportation to Jordan.

"I applied for asylum based on the fact I was Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship," she said. "There was a Human Rights Watch report saying that there’s been recordings of Palestinians going back to Jordan being stripped of their citizenship."

Mukahhal hopes the president’s policy is implemented by then, which could help keep her in the United States if her asylum petition is denied.
US Immigration Laws

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid