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Young New York City immigrant asks Obama to justify deportation

Families are complex, no matter where you're from or what you do for a living, and the same goes for immigrants. Last week, we discussed some possible changes to family immigration law. Legislators, we hope, are trying to get things right, and more and more people in higher-up positions are lending an ear to the concerns of immigrants and their family members.

One young man who was born in Morocco was actually able to meet with President Obama earlier this month. The 22-year-old, whose parents wanted a better life for him, came to the United States when he was 7 years old. Like many people living in New York, he didn't seek an adjustment of status until years later -- 14 years in his case.

The young man has lived in New York City for years, and he is now a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and about to start his senior year. In fact, his high school friends pulled together and helped him raise enough money to cover his out-of-state tuition, which he owed instead of in-state-tuition because he wasn't living in the country with legal permission.

When the young man was invited to the White House, he could hardly believe it. His parents could hardly believe it, either. But as grateful as he was, he decided to take the opportunity to convey serious matters to the president.

The young man's 8-year-old sister is a U.S. citizen, but his other sister is not, though she can apply for deferred action, which allows some people to avoid deportation. The man's parents are not documented, either, and his mother is actually facing deportation at the moment.

Calmly and politely, the son decided to ask President Obama a question: "How do you justify separating my mom and my two younger sisters?"

This same question might have come from millions of immigrants living in the United States, and it's this sort of question that lawmakers are now faced with. As legislators try to sculpt an immigration reform bill, families with complex immigration concerns would do well to take their own legal steps to protect and support their loved ones.

Source: Huffington Post, "Immigrant Who Met Obama: 'You're Dealing With Human Lives'," Elise Foley, May 27, 2013

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