Texas A&M Undocumented Student In National Headlines For New Immigration Policy

For some 800,000 undocumented immigrants, it's a DREAM Act come true; at least partially.

The Obama administration says it will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants.

The President made the announcement Friday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden, issuing an executive order taking effect immediately and bypassing Congress.

At one point in his speech, Mr. Obama was interrupted by a heckling reporter who was quickly rebuked.

Despite the interruption, the president's message was clear.

"Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization," said President Barack Obama.

The policy will apply to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before age 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, and have no criminal history.

The President's plan is welcome news for Texas A&M Grad Student Jose Luis Zelaya who found himself in the national spotlight for being the first undocumented student to run for Student Government President at A&M.

News 3 sat down with Zelaya who's taking his message coast to coast on the airwaves and online and we also have reaction from Congressman Bill Flores who says the President's actions are unconstitutional.

It's an outcome Jose Luis Zelaya has been fighting for and it brought him to tears in a video he shot himself.

"It's a beautiful moment and and it's a beautiful day to know that I get to walk outside and know that I'm not going to be deported," said Zelaya.

Migrating from Honduras to Texas at 14 he's one of an estimated 800,000 young people who'd benefit from President Obama's plan to stop deporting some younger illegal immigrants.

He's been on the airwaves all day speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and while we were with him CNN En Espanol and Houston's Univision.

"We are Americans we just happen to be undocumented Americans," he said.

He was the first undocumented Aggie to run for Student Body President this spring. He didn't win and also faced another setback when the Student Senate failed to nominate him for a VP for Student Diversity position because of his status.

Zelaya moved to the Houston area in middle school, and graduated from A&M.

Since he wasn't eligible to work as a school teacher he's continuing to study education in grad school.

"Today we celebrate. Today we are joyful and tomorrow we gotta get back to work," said Zelaya.

But many others like Bryan Congressman Bill Flores say the President's plan is unconstitutional.

"If you look at our country’s constitution under our constitution the President has no right, no power whatsoever to make any law. Whether it’s a good law or a bad law the President has zero power his duty is to enforce the laws that congress passes," said Congressman Bill Flores, (R) District 17.

Flores also worries the plan will take jobs away from millions of Americans still out of work.

He says Republicans will respond.

"I think it's still a little too early to tell at this point Clay. We'll find out pretty soon. Peter King the Congressman from New York has already said that he is going to sue the President to raise a constitutional challenge to this. We'll see how that goes," added Flores.

But it's a debate Zelaya says he'll gladly discuss with those on all sides.

"Let's sit down at the table. Let's see where you disagree, let's see where we agree," he said.

Jose Luis Zelaya is also taking to the internet with blogs and even an article for Huffington Post.

He still hopes to be a teacher in Texas after grad school.

Congressman Flores expects the courts will ultimately decide whether the plan is legal or not.


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