President Barack Obama says most young illegal immigrants will no longer be deported. The president announced the new policy at the White House Friday.
The decision is welcome news for thousands of illegal immigrants, including one local college student who could face deportation at the end of the month.
Maricruz Razo was brought to Bakersfield when she was eight years old. This is her home. Because she entered the country illegally, her chances of becoming a legal resident were slim.
Razo thought she would be forced to leave the country until the process was completed, but the president's announcement gives her hope she can stay.
19-year-old Maricruz Razo packed up eleven years of hard work, sacrifices and dreams into a tiny black bag. "I don't want to go back. I wasn't born here but this is my home," said Maricruz Razo.
Earlier this month, Maricruz received this letter in the mail from U.S. Immigration and Customs, materializing her worst fear. She knew she could be sent back to Mexico. "With the violence, I don't want to go back. There's drug dealers and where guys kill women. I want to stay here," she continued.
Razo didn't know any English when she came to Bakersfield eleven years ago. She is now a straight A student at Bakersfield College. "I'm an illegal person but I'm the future of the U.S.," she noted.
President Obama agrees. He said it makes no sense to expel talented young people who are essentially Americans. His new plan has been met with mixed reviews in Bakersfield.
"I think they (should) show them the border. It's kind of cruel but that's the way I feel about it. I just think we're being overtaken by people breaking the law," said Morton Wallace.
"Those children are actually going to school here. They're learning here. We're hoping they will be productive here and when they do have talents, they will bring those talents here," said Debra Rivera.
For Razo, this could be a new beginning. Her mother and sister are also here illegally. They have a meeting June 26 where a judge will decide whether they must return to Mexico.