DENVER (CBS4)– Coloradans are reacting to what some are calling an extreme policy change when it comes to illegal immigrants in the U.S.
President Obama made an announcement Friday about an Executive Order that under certain conditions the federal government will no longer deport younger illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.
To qualify, the immigrant would have to be younger than age 30 and have come to the U.S. before age 16.
They would have to have lived in the U.S. continuously for five years, be a student or graduate or served in the military and have no criminal record.
The policy could be a game changer in key swing states like Colorado.
Colorado’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce cheered during the announcement and Claudia Trejo breathed a big sigh of relief.
“This is so exciting, my heart is pounding so hard right now,” said Trejo.
The 17-year-old was brought to Colorado when she was 10 years old.
“We were scared everyday to go back to a place we don’t even know. This changes everything,” said Trejo.
“It changes really nothing,” said former congressman Tom Tancredo.
Tancredo has been a vocal opponent of illegal immigration. He believes the president’s policy is all a political ploy.
“How do you spell Hispanic vote? This is so blatant,” said Tancredo. “The fact is he’s already said no one is going to get deported if they haven’t committed another crime.”
“I would respectfully disagree with my friend Tom Tancredo,” said President of the Hispanic Chamber Bill Vidal.
Vidal, the former mayor of Denver, said it’s about more than deportation, it’s about education and employment.
“Whatever motivation is the right thing it is the right thing,” said Vidal. “I hope this helps bring everybody to their senses. Let’s stop making this a political football.”
The Hispanic vote will be key in the November election.
In Colorado, Hispanics represent a little more than 20 percent of our population. They are the fastest growing demographic in the electorate nationwide.