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.
    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

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora