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The undocumented don’t want to learn English? In fact, 91 percent of undocumented immigrants are fluent in English. They don’t pay taxes? Up to 75 percent do. They commit most of the crime? One Harvard study found that first-generation immigrants are 45 percent less likely to commit violent crimes than Americanized third-generation immigrants.
Last year, Garcia-Marin received his work permit through a deportation deferral program. It has opened some doors, he said, yet he still lives in fear that what was given can be taken at any time.
He’s candid about his disappointment in President Obama, who has deported 2 million people since 2009, far more than the number deported under George W. Bush.
His disappointment extends to House Republicans, and Speaker John Boehner, who last week expressed doubt that an immigration bill will pass this year. Just after House Republicans released a set of principles Jan. 30, outlining what immigration reform might look like, Boehner backed away from them, blaming Obama for inaction.
“We had so many hopes,” Garcia-Marin said. “There’s not going to be any immigration reform.”
For now, he’s focused on finishing college.
Despite his challenges, Garcia-Marin has joined many student organizations and maintained a solid GPA. Through scholarships and grants, he will graduate in May with no student loans.
He continues to work at Mary’s Place 22 hours a week, cleaning and manning the reception desk. With school work, he said, “It gets crazy. I don’t have time for much else.”
After graduation, he hopes to find work as a Web designer, but he’s thinking bigger already. “The dream to me would be to own my own business,” he said, breaking into an uncharacteristically huge smile. “I want to be my own boss.”
Gail Rosenblum • 612-673-7350