Local illegal immigrant celebrates Obama's announcement

Local illegal immigrant celebrates Obama's announcement »Play Video
Jaime Limon-Guzman walks with his 2-year-old daughter on Friday. He was brought to the United States from Mexico by his family when he was 12 years old. (KATU News photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Jaime Limon-Guzman admits he's been living in the United States illegally and like a lot of young illegal immigrants he's celebrating President Barack Obama's announcement allowing him and others like him to stay in the country.

Obama's plan allows illegal immigrants who were brought to America before the age of 16 and are younger than 30 to stay in the country if they have been here for at least five continuous years. They also must not have a criminal history, have graduated from high school or obtained a GDE. They will also not face deportation if they’ve served in the military.

Some people say Obama's announcement doesn't go far enough but opponents say it's a slap in the face to the rule of law.

Limon-Guzman is 26 now but as a boy his family brought him to Oregon from Mexico.

"I came to the United States when I was 12 – came because we were fleeing poverty," he said Friday.

Limon-Guzman graduated from Beaverton High School, went to community college and pays taxes.

His two-year-old daughter is an American citizen but he and his parents are still illegal. He hopes the president's plan opens a path for him to get a driver's license, vote and pursue a career as a firefighter.

While many people may think he's a criminal, Limon-Guzman responds to that belief by saying, "People are going to say what they're going to say, I personally know that I'm not a criminal."

But Jim Ludwick with Oregonians for Immigration Reform said, "It's a slap in the face to people who believe in doing things the right way."

He said he thinks Obama is doing an end-around on Congress to curry favor with Latino voters in an election year.

"This is a political ploy," he said.

The president is trying to counter his administration's aggressive deportation policy in the eyes of Latinos. Last year immigration and customs enforcement deported a record 397,000 people.  It is expected to deport about 400,000 this year.