Honduran native living in N.O. hopes immigration order will block looming deportation

Honduran native living in N.O. hopes immigration order will block looming deportation

Gustavo Bonilla says the 14 years he's spent in New Orleans have been life-changing.

A native of Honduras, Bonilla started a family here and set his dreams in motion.

"The opportunities I've had in this country are many - a better job, a better economic situation for my family, better education for my children as well," he said.

But recently, Bonilla has been living with fear and uncertainty over his future.

"I'm still in the process of deportation where I have to leave by the end of the year, and all I want is to be with my children who were born here," he said.

President Obama's executive order on immigration, announced Thursday, aims to allay similar concerns for as many as five million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

"(The order) allows them to live the United States without that fear of deportation, to live in the United States without the fear that their families will be torn apart," said Tulane Political Science Professor Casey Love, who teaches classes on immigration issues.

Love said attempts to reverse the plan could begin.

"Our next congress has the ability to pass an immigration law that could essentially erase what Obama has done. Certainly our next president, should he or she be a Republican and want to revoke that law, he or she could do so," she said.

Obama's plan is already drawing sharp criticism in our area.

Trey Roberts with the New Orleans Tea Party believes the president is disregarding the constitution.

"It appears as though that there's going to be a whole new creation of a permanent underclass within our society and that's not the American dream that a lot of these people come to America looking for," he said. "If you bring more people in that are low-skilled, low-labor, low-education that does limit the type of jobs that can be filled by this particular group of people that are coming in."

However, Love believes those who plan to fight the order face political challenges.

"The Latino electorate makes up about 11 percent of our voting base today. Latinos are now the second-largest minority in the United States and they exercise considerable electoral strength in certain swing states," she said.

Politics aside, Gustavo Bonilla hopes even those against Obama's plan will keep an open mind.

"I'd say, we're all human beings. We were all immigrants at one point. We have to be united in this. We have to work together so that this isn't a fight, but that we work toward the betterment of this country," he said.

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