The Obama Administration announced Friday it’s easing its policy of deporting young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
The new policy is sparking debate on the Western Slope and opinions on the new policy are just about as diverse as they come.
At least 800,000 immigrants in Colorado and across the country could be impacted.
"I know a lot of people that this will make a difference for them in their lives," Amber Ramirez said.
Effective immediately, illegal immigrants who were brought to this country before they were 16, who are still younger than 30, who have lived in the country for five continuous years, and who have no criminal record, can stay in the U.S. and work.
President Obama says, "They’ve been raised as Americans and understand themselves to be part of this country."
"If they come here at that age then they don't know what's happening,” Robert Rodowsky said. “If they've gone to school and done their thing, or gone in the military, they deserve the right to become citizens.”
"He’s raised in the United States, he goes to school in the United States, he doesn't even speak another language besides English, he goes in the army, serves two tours in Afghanistan, he gets back, and they deport him to Venezuela or some other damn place or Mexico or whatever. It’s not right," Richard Swendig said.
Others disagree, saying if immigrants are undocumented they need to leave.
"American born people have to have a social security card and we have to pay taxes,” Karen Minton said. “I believe that should apply to anybody here working."
President Obama explained what his policy is not.
He says, "This is not amnesty; this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship."
Eligible young immigrants will be granted two year work permits they can renew an unlimited amount of times.
Some believe the change in policy will have a huge impact on Hispanic voters, especially is swing states like Colorado.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the president's decision will make finding a long term solution more difficult.
Next week, they'll both be addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.