Immigrants rights workers weigh in on what they want to hear fro - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Immigrants rights workers weigh in on what they want to hear from President

Tonight, President Barack Obama will make a big announcement about immigration reform. He is expected to use his executive powers to prevent deportation for more undocumented immigrants.

Immigrants rights workers like Patricia Ice anticipate at least 25,000 undocumented immigrants living in Mississippi could be impacted by the President's announcement.

"This executive action is only going to affect people who are already here," explained Ice who serves as legal project director at Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance.

It wouldn't be the first time President Obama has issued an executive order on immigration. A 2012 order changed the course for young immigrants by giving them what's known as deferred action.

"People were able to get work authorization and a social security card and here in Mississippi, also a drivers license," said Ice.

That order only impacted immigrants who came into the United States before age 16. That's why all eyes are on tonight's announcement.

"We're hoping that the President will extend that deferred action to adults," described Ice.

It's expected that deportation protections may be given to parents of U.S. citizens. But that wouldn't cover all immigrants.

"If he only extends it to parents of U.S. citizens then there may be other people who we think also deserve to stay here who may be left out," Ice said, "And we want to keep families intact."

There's already been push back on immigration issues from the state's leaders this year. Bryant sent a letter to the President in July. He made it clear to us that the state would do what it could legally to stop an influx of immigrant children.

"These children should be returned home to their parents for the responsibility that they should naturally have of taking care of these children and not be left here in the United States," Bryant said in a July interview.

Patricia Ice hopes those Central American children will get some help from the executive action.

The numbers are still unclear but MIRA estimates a total of at least 100-thousand undocumented immigrants living in Mississippi.

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