President Obama’s new immigration overhaul could benefit up to five million people.
The president wants to give parents of American citizens, or legal residents, a chance to avoid deportation.
The conditions are living in the U.S. for over five years, passing a background check, and paying taxes.
It does not grant citizenship or help anyone who recently entered the country illegally.
But even those who would benefit from it have some mixed feelings.
Local immigration activists watched the President at a viewing party in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.
They say they support what the President is doing, but they would like more to get done.
“For me it means our family is removed from the threat of deportation,” said Edith Robles. “It’s really painful to think that at any time could be separated.”
“It’s not a law. It’s going to leave a lot of people on the side,” said Juan Lopez. “But it’s a step in the right direction.”
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez says he will help register eligible families so Chicago is a model for the country.
Several Illinois Congressional Republicans were critical of the President’s message.
“President Obama’s plan to ignore the Constitution and circumvent Congress is a lawless move that will ultimately do much more harm than good,” according to their statement.
The immigration issue was a hot topic at the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus conference in Rosemont Friday.
State Rep. Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago) told the audience to keep up the pressure on Washington for more immigration reform.
State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) said the president's move was long overdue.