President Obama's new immigration policy is letting thousands of immigrants seek legal status in the U.S., but many others don't qualify and are being left behind. Those already in deportation proceedings can't seek a reversal of their fate, for instance, while others haven't lived in the U.S. long enough to qualify.

So in many cases, families still face being torn apart. 

Phoenix resident Gina Sanchez belongs to the lucky group and no longer has to live in the shadows. "I'm really happy because, simply put, now I can leave [the house] and not be afraid. And my son doesn't have to be afraid [either]," she said. 

"In the future, I can go back to my country and see my daughters."

On the other side of the spectrum, Maria Velazco is still coping with the fact that her family doesn't qualify and therefore cannot benefit from the new policy. Pregnant with her fourth child, her husband was recently caught living in the U.S. illegally and deported. Now she is trying  to decide whether she should go back to Mexico or stay in the U.S. with her children, all of whom were either born in the U.S. or came as infants. 

The kids don't know Mexico and don't want to leave the only country they've ever known. The situation is hardest to explain to her youngest children, she said. 

"They just keep asking for their dad," Velazco said. "They talk to him and everything, but the little ones don't understand and I can't explain. I tell them, but they don't understand why he doesn't come back, why he can't return, if he isn't in jail anymore. It's just … very hard."

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter & Instagram