Luis Perez, an illegal immigrant in the United States, knows that any day he can be deported. The paradox, in his case, he could ask for legal residence in this country, but prefers to live with the specter of deportation faced with the risk of being separated from his family indefinitely.
"Although it is hard to live without a work permit and fear, the prospect of going away from my family is intolerable," says the Mexican from Los Angeles.
Perez is able to get his green card for being married to an American. As he tells the BBC, has lived 22 years in the U.S. and nearly married 7 years.
"Many people say that immigrants (undocumented) would do anything for a residence permit. But that's not true: we can not sacrifice the welfare of our families. Under the current system, many of us are forced to separate from them and that discourages us from applying for permission, "said the young man, 30 years old who came from Guadalajara as a child.
Like him, some 100 000 illegal immigrants could benefit from the recent announcement by the administration of President Barack Obama to accelerate the processing of illegal immigrants who have family with U.S. citizens or legal residents.
As indicated by the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the government will allow these immigrants to apply for legal residency from within the United States, instead of having to return to their country of origin.Various social organizations willingly received the news, which would avoid long separations of many families.
"This is a tremendous victory for those who suffer the consequences of a tough immigration bureaucracy. The Obama Administration thus demonstrates that it values the importance of family unity," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.
Not for everyone
The new regulation of the White House is designed for those immigrants who are eligible for legal residency by way of family ties, either because they are children or are married to a U.S. citizen.
As the system works today, the applicants of the so-called green card -- which authorizes them to stay and find employment in the United States -- must return to their home countries to start the process.
Once there, they often get caught in a contradictory logic: even if they have the right to apply for a green card, the system automatically imposes a ban on re-entering the U.S. territory, as punishment for violating immigration laws.
"With this tricky situation of the immigration system, all you get is the separation of families, which in itself goes against the values promoted by American culture," said Noorani.
See more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2012/01/120111_eeuu_latinos_inmigracion_reglamentacion_visa_de_residencia_legal_vp.shtml