DENVER (CBS4) – Two months after President Barack Obama’s executive order spared roughly five million illegal immigrants from deportation — including more than 100,000 in Colorado — those who would benefit from the policy say nothing’s changed.
Republican lawmakers determined to counter Obama on immigration want to advance solutions of their own. They passed legislation this month that bars the Department of Homeland Security from spending money to implement the policy. Republicans in the U.S. House also voted to reverse a 2012 action that protects children brought here illegally.
Activists, meanwhile, held two protests in Denver this week, calling on the Obama White House to follow through on the order and for Republicans to back off.
“Even (though) I was not born in this country, I feel like this country is mine,” Imelda Cuevas said at a rally this week. She’s among those who would benefit from the president’s immigration order, but two months after celebrating the executive action, some immigration offices are ignoring it.
Cuevas has lived here 14 years, has 2 American children and doesn’t have a criminal record.
“The court system has yet to recognize the value of the executive action,” Susana Sandoval with DREAMers MOMS USA said.
Activists have also rallied for Arturo Hernandez, a Denver man who’s taken sanctuary in a church to avoid deportation. He, too, should qualify for protection. But his appeal was denied.
“The Republicans aren’t just playing political games here. They’re playing with people’s lives and the futures of their families,” U.S. House Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, said. She joined activists in Denver to protest the GOP legislation.
Cuevas made a plea for help at the rally.
“We contribute to the economy. We are not criminals. We are asking for an opportunity as many other immigrants before me have had,” she said.
Republicans boast a slim majority in the U.S. Senate and admit the spending bill is likely dead on arrival.
The GOP’s policy retreat got underway on Friday night. Immigration is the top issue.
Colorado’s new Republican senator, Cory Gardner, says while he believes the president’s action is unconstitutional, if Republicans are going to reverse it, they need to advance an alternative.