A life changing, long-awaited announcement by President Obama was about to be broadcast, yet Pamela Resendiz and Carolina Carrizales couldn’t get Wi-Fi and their laptops were fading fast.
Once inside a downtown Starbucks, they were plugged in and ready, but Carrizales was staring at the empty screen.
“Where is the President?” she said.
“He’s running late,” Resendiz said.
But when Obama finally came to the podium, they heard the news.
“He emphasized it’s not amnesty. That it’s not a pathway to citizenship, and it’s not the end of the struggle,” Resendiz said.
She and Carrizales will be among millions of young people brought to the U.S. as children by their parents who will no longer have to fear being deported.
“I came to the United States when I was 9 years old and I’m now 23,” Resendiz said.
Resendiz said she just graduated from UTSA and is applying for law school.
“I was 10 years old and I’m now 22,” Carrizales said.
Carrizales, who plans to attend graduate school, said she graduated with highest honors from UTSA with a degree in technical communications.
Both said now they’ll be able to apply for permits to work legally in the U.S.
“I can legally get hired, legally get paid for the professional work that I do and have done in the past for no pay or as a volunteer,” Carrizales said.
Resendiz said, “We’ll be able to pursue our careers. We’ll be visible now.”
They said the policy change still involves a process that must be followed, including re-applying every two years for deferred action to avoid deportation.
Resendiz and Carrizales were among those at the forefront of the Dream Act movement to give young people like them an opportunity at citizenship.
Although it failed to pass Congress in 2010, both said they will continue to push for passage of the Dream Act and immigration reform.
They said this has been a historic day.
“I knew it was going to come at some point,” Resendiz said. “I’m very happy Obama made the right decision and that he decided to speak up.”
Asked how she felt, Carrizales said, “Now I can feel safe. I can go to sleep and feel like a normal person.”