POLITICS

Obama's Immigration speech was met with mix of joy and outrage across nation

A watch party for President Obama's speech on immigration in Phoenix on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.

A watch party for President Obama's speech on immigration in Phoenix on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

There were tears, cheers and jeers.

Emotions ran high across the nation as immigrants and activists who have pushed for some relief for the undocumented washed President Obama announce on television his plan for relief from deportations for about 5 million people.

But after the initial burst of emotion Thursday evening at hastily organized watch parties and in living rooms, many said Obama's plan was just the first step in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. 

A snapshot of reactions across the country:

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"This will definitely help our family no longer live in fear, fear that we will have to drop everything if our parents are deported. But there is still fear, because this is a temporary, and we need something permanent," said Isaura Pena, 20, of Portland, whose father and mother lack legal status.

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"This is a great day for farmworkers. It's been worth the pain and sacrifice," said Jesus Zuniga, 40, who picks tomatoes in California's Central Valley and watched the speech at a union gathering in Fresno.

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"They're going to have a chance to be what they want to be and get an education," said Maria Perez, 41, of Fresno, California. She is in the country legally, but she often worries about her nieces, ages 16 and 18, who aren't. With the president's speech, she feels hope that her nieces now can achieve her dreams.

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Abel Rodriguez, of Phoenix, said Obama's proposal could mean that he and his wife would be able to visit their family in Mexico without fear of not being able to return to the U.S. or getting separated from their daughters. "I have not seen my family for 10 years. I have two grandsons that I don't see," Rodriguez said.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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