GUATEMALA CITY – About 100,000 Guatemalans could benefit from U.S. President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, the Central American country’s leader said.
President Otto Perez Molina praised the actions Obama announced Thursday night, which are expected to shield about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Almost 60 percent of the 2 million Guatemalans living in the United States are undocumented.
Under Obama’s order, undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States for at least five years and are the parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents will be eligible for work permits and a three-year reprieve from deportation.
“I want to express my gratitude to the United States for these steps to normalize the immigration status of hundreds of families,” Perez Molina said.
At the same time, he urged fellow Guatemalans with relatives in the United States not to head north now since Obama’s order will benefit only immigrants who have been in the United States since before Jan. 1, 2010.