Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Fresno Immigration Activist Welcomes New Obama Policy

Jun 15, 2012

President Obama's announcement today on immigration reform is receiving a warm welcome from local immigrant rights advocates.

Pedro Ramirez, the former student body president of Fresno State who gained national notoriety in 2010 because of his status as an undocumented immigrant, says this is a step in the right direction that will make a profound difference for hispanic students in the valley.

"I think, once we start getting the word out to students and families start getting informed about this, I think we're going to see a lot of students start becoming engaged and pursuing a higher education, and work opportunities, and basically a new life. Just right now, with the signing of this by the president, he gave us a new life."

President Obama’s announcement affects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came to the country illegally as minors with their parents, a group that had previously sought similar legislative reforms through the DREAM Act.

However, Ramirez doesn't think the fight for equality for immigrants is over. While President Obama's reforms will prevent young undocumented students from being deported, Ramirez believes undocumented immigrants are entitled to more liberties they don't have yet.

"Honestly, I would say that this is a temporary solution. We need something that's permanent. But it gives us hope, so I think this is definitely welcome. And so, there is a need for this, and there is a need for a permanent solution."

Ramirez currently works for the Education and Leadership Foundation in Fresno, which provides students with resources and counseling for higher education, while he works to receive his Masters degree from CSU Long Beach.