WASHINGTON—Rosario Reyes says
las pandillas, or gangs, always lingered in her neighborhood in El Salvador, but she
became even more afraid after her brother-in-law was assassinated in a
shooting on his way home from work. Gang members shot him 12 times during
She feared for her life, her husband Ramon, and their two young children,
Ricardo and Jose. Although her brother-in-law was not a gang member, the
family began to receive threats.
The Reyes then decided to move to a place where they could find safety.
Ramon left El Salvador in 2002 and a year later, Rosario Reyes began the
difficult journey to meet him in Maryland. This path included days of
traveling until she crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.
"My husband and I, we were afraid. We wanted to get away from the
criminality," she said.
Rosario Reyes and her family are among the 4 million undocumented immigrants
who could be allowed to live and work legally in the United States without
the constant fear of deportation.
A decision could come this week if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor
of President Barack Obama's immigration actions in the landmark case
United States v. Texas.
The case focuses on Obama's 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans
and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, and the expansion of the 2012
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA.
The measures would protect young immigrants from deportation if they were
brought to the U.S. illegally as children. They would also extend deportation
protections to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents
who have been in the country for some years. Both actions would allow
them to work legally for a period of two years subject to renewal.
A lawsuit brought by 26 states, led by Texas, as well as congressional
Republicans, challenged the executive orders and argued that Obama did
not have the power to effectively change immigration laws.
A federal judge in Texas agreed to hear the challenge brought by those
states and these executive orders have been on hold since 2015.
In April, the Supreme Court heard both sides in the case.
Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, arguing for the lawsuit, called the
president's order "one of the largest immigration changes"
in American history, saying the program defers deportations and changes
a person's immigration status since it allows undocumented immigrants
to obtain work authorizations.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. argued the government's
case. He said the phrase "lawful presence," that means being
in the United States legally, could be removed from the language in the
executive orders without changing their impact.
The president said he took the executive actions after Congress failed
to overhaul the immigration system.
According to the Federal Registry, Obama has issued 244 executive orders
between 2009 and 2016. George W. Bush issued 292 executive actions during
his two terms as president.
Supreme Court justices could side with Obama's administration policies
and allow the 4 million immigrants who qualify under the executive actions
to live and work legally in the U.S.
The high court could also agree with a lower court's ruling, which
froze the immigration actions, and these executive orders would likely
The third possibility is a tie. With the death in February of Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia, only eight members are on the bench. The lower
court's ruling would stand if the outcome ends in a tie.
Rosario Reyes' third child, Victor, was born in 2008 in Maryland. He
is the only family member who is a U.S. citizen. Because of Victor, both
parents qualify for DAPA.
Even a favorable ruling by the Supreme Court, the 38-year-old mother's
plight would still not be over. She had to leave her other sons, Jose
and Ricardo, with her mother when she left El Salvador for the U.S.
Years later, Ricardo, the eldest son, embarked on the same journey to see
his parents again. Jose, the middle child, stayed behind in El Salvador
and their mother said she has not seen him since he was a year old. He
is now 14.
In a phone interview, through tears, Rosario Reyes said being away from
her son is one of the hardest struggles she has had to endure.
Mother and son keep in touch through Facebook and its messaging application
WhatsApp. Rosario Reyes also uses social media to check Jose's homework
and talks about hopes and dreams for the future.
"He says ‘Mom, I love you very much. I want to see you but I
don't want to be undocumented. I want to be free. I have dreams,’"
The family is hoping to work with U.S. authorities to get Jose a visa.
Son Ricardo is a DACA recipient. He graduated from a Maryland public high
school and is now working to pay for his college education.
Rosario Reyes takes care of children while her husband works in construction.
"We are not criminals. We are honored people. We work hard... I have
faith that [the ruling] will be a yes. We will be free," she told VOA.
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration lawyers
Our Miami immigration attorneys represent clients in all areas of immigration
law, including employment-based immigration, family-based residency, naturalization,
removal proceedings, and more.
We will be monitoring the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on DAPA and
DACA very closely so we can keep you updated on how this decision could
impact your immigration case.
Contact our Miami immigration lawyers today for a free in-office consultation.
Call (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323.
We are committed to keeping our clients in the United States. Let us know
how we can help you.