Some Deportations Halted, But Immigrants Remain in Limbo

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Marco Werman: The Obama administration is conducting an immigration test. It launched a review of more than 11,000 cases before immigration courts in Denver and Baltimore. As a result, officials say some 1,600 immigrants who had been facing deportation will be allowed to stay in the US. The review, which may be extended nationwide, is part of President Obama's prosecutorial discretion policy. It focuses the government's deportation efforts on undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records, rather than those who pose no security risk. Raul Cardenas of Denver was among those who had their deportation case stopped at least for now. He and his wife, Judy, join us. Raul, you came to the US from Mexico more than a decade ago without papers. You married Judy but weren't able to get a work permit. What will this mean for you and your family?

Raul Cardenas: Honestly, I don't know what's going to happen. The case is still there, so they said to start deportation, they keep me here in the country, but I can't work and I cannot leave the country.

Werman: I mean, Judy, given that this is kind of the deportation has been put on pause, I mean you were married to Raul more than nine years ago. You're raising three children together. Do you still feel though in some way in limbo?

Judy Cardenas: Yes, now he has no process at all. There's no pathway for him to legalize, no pathway for him to get a work permit, we're just family people and the tricky thing about this is he's still deportable, so he has to worry about going down the street. If he's stopped at a stop sign or goes to some grocery stores you know, you can be asked for papers.

Werman: And Raul, practically speaking, what does it mean for your ability right now to support your family, to be employed, especially since you're not eligible for a work permit?

Cardenas: I cannot support my family right now the way I wanted. My wife goes to a church. A lot of people there have been helping me, giving me like handyman work, and that's all I've been doing. I can't really support my family. I also have family in Mexico I've been supporting for the last 10 years. I'm talking about my parents and my younger brothers, so it is really hard for me to be like that.

Werman: You worked for eight years driving heavy machinery. Any chance of you finding another job like that?

Cardenas: Oh, yeah, people they're waiting for me. I have calls every once in a while. They know my capacity to operate that kind of equipment and I just can't work right now. I mean I'm not allowed to work.

Werman: Judy Cardenas, what are your hopes for the family? I mean even with deportation on pause this must be incredibly distracting?

Cardenas: You picked the right word. It is, it's a distraction because we have a little girl who's eight and we have two boys in high school that wanna be college bound. And we can't go visit his family in Mexico, so the grandparents aren't known to my kids. It's hard. It's hard on your body and it's hard on your mind, and then just the heartache of knowing how many others thousands and millions of families. The strain for me is that I do not have the right to have my family members in this country. So that's always there in my mind. We're not as afraid as we were, but the threat still hangs over our heads.

Werman: Raul and Judy Cardenas, thank you very much for speaking with us.

Cardenas: You're very welcome.

Cardenas: Thank you.