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Syracuse Immigration Attorney, Immigrant Farm Workers Call Pres. Obama's Order a First Step

Scott willis

A Syracuse-based immigration attorney says President Obama’s executive order to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation is a good first step…but could have gone farther.
 Jose Perez says even though the action is based on family unity, it doesn’t help everyone.  
Under the president’s executive order, undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for at least five years and have children born in the U.S. would get a reprieve from deportation and be eligible to apply for work permits.  Perez says he’s already getting calls from clients asking if they qualify.  

Immigrant farmworkers are among those who say they appreciate the president's efforts, but the executive order won't help many of them.  

Jose Canas is an immigrant farm worker from the Rochester area who feels comprehensive immigration reform is the only answer to addressing the concerns of farm workers who just want to visit family in their home countries.

Naturally, republicans in congress are furious, and say the president’s action all but kills any future chances for comprehensive immigration reform.  Immigration attorney Jose Perez wonders wants to ask them why.

"This [executive order] cannot stop anything because what it gives Congress at this point, and what it gives the Senate at this point, is more incentive to act and do something.  Fix the problem.  You know there's a problem.  Fix it."

Perez says there’s already an agricultural jobs act pending in congress that could be a step in that direction…but no action has been taken.  

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at