Feeling confident that a federal judges ruling to temporarily block President Obamas executive actions on immigration will be overturned, Wilmer Valderrama urged immigrants to not feel discouraged.
Instead, the 35-year-old actor encouraged them to prepare to apply for the new deportation relief programs that the president announced in November as part of his executive actions. He said the first step they can take to prepare is to gather all the documents theyll need to prove they qualify. By doing so, he said, immigrants will be ready to apply once theyre able to do so.
This was done for us, and we dont want it to go away, he said, referring to the executive actions by the president. The more [people] that we can sign up from the moment its available, the harder it is going to be for anyone to reverse it.
Valderrama made these comments Wednesday night during an hour-long Google Hangout that was intended to answer questions regarding the latest on Obamas executive actions on immigration. It was hosted by Voto Latino, Mi Familia Vota and iAmerica.
During the Google Hangout, Valderrama applauded Obama for doing his part in taking executive action on immigration and stressed that now its up to advocates to come together and do their part in helping immigrants prepare. Now more than ever we have to help our community, he said.
American-born actress Diane Guerrero, whos best known for her roles in Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, also took part in the Google hangout.
She stressed that part of the responsibility of advocates is also going to be to help immigrants overcome their fears of coming out as undocumented and applying for Obamas deportation relief programs.
Guerrero knows a lot about the fear undocumented immigrants go through, given that she has family members who were once undocumented. She was 14 years old when her parents and older brother were deported to Colombia. She revealed her story in an op-ed published by the Los Angeles Times in November.
I experienced firsthand what it was like to live in a very complicated immigration system, and I understand why people feel so frustrated, she said during the Google hangout.
Like Valderrama, the 28-year-old actress also applauded Obama for taking action on immigration. She said though the presidents actions dont present a permanent solution, they serve to help keep families together.
The Google Hangout came a day after U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen granted a preliminary injunction to halt Obamas executive actions on immigration.
Following the judges ruling, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that plans to allow immigrants to begin applying for an expanded deferred action program on Wednesday had been suspended. He also said that until further notice, his department would also delay plans to begin accepting request for a new deferred action program designed for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. That program was supposed to be implemented in May.
Both deferred action programs would allow undocumented immigrants to receive work permits and protection from deportation.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez, deputy director of public engagement at the White House, also joined the Google Hangout on Wednesday. She referred to the judges ruling as a minor setback and stressed that the Department of Justice will be looking at what our next steps are to make sure that we are doing all that we can to move forward and to fully implement the presidents actions.
We know that every day that goes by, theres a real cost to it, Rodriguez added. There are real families of people that are affected, and so we want to move forward as quickly as possible with implementing it.