One of the things President Obama's executive order will do is offer deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for five years and are the parents of U.S.-born children.
"Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms?" the president asked in a speech on Thursday night. "Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?"
This portion of the order is expected to cover some 3.7 million people. Here, a few of those parents react.
The Perez Family
Beatriz Perez came to the U.S. from Mexico more than two decades ago. She’s been living in the United States for more than 21 years without legal status.
She’s part of what the U.S. recognizes as mixed-status families. Perez and her husband came to the U.S. with their 2-month old son Jassietl and the family continued to grow in the states. Two of her daughters, Mariel and Karen, are U.S. citizens.
Beatriz says that as a result of tonight’s announcement she will be able to drop her daughters off at school and not have to worry about being separated from her family.
“The biggest fear undocumented people have in this country is getting stopped by the police and being placed in deportation proceedings and then being separated from your children,” Perez told Fusion.
“This is going to be a profound change in my life."
“I won’t have fear when I take my kids to school, I won’t have fear when when I go to the grocery store.”
An estimated 9 million people in the U.S. live in “mixed-status” families, according to a 2010 Census Bureau report.
Nancy was born in Mexico and has been living in the U.S. for than a decade. She and her two U.S.-born children live in Los Angeles.
After Obama announced his executive order that will help parents "come out of the shadows," Nancy said it would be a radical change in her life.
"I would feel more free, I will live with less fear" said Nancy.
The Medina Family
Isabel Medina left Mexico 18 years ago and has been living in the U.S. ever since. She has two boys ages 8 and 6.
"I won't have the fear of being separated from my two boys now," Medina told Fusion.
"The most important thing is that I won't live with fear of being deported."