Jesus Cruz, an undocumented Pebblebrook graduate, can breathe a little easier now. He is no longer threatened by deportation, thanks mostly to an announcement from President Barack Obama in June.
Obama announced that his administration will cease deportation for illegal immigrants who meet the requirements of the DREAM Act, which would allow illegal immigrants without criminal records but with high school diplomas or military service records to remain in the U.S.
Cruz, who is DREAM Act-eligible, was facing deportation because Cobb County Police arrested him in August 2011 for driving without a license, which he cannot obtain in Georgia as an undocumented resident.
In May, a judge granted Cruz his second two-month extension, and his deportation hearing would have been Monday.
"The policy shifted a little bit down here," said Julio Moreno, Cruz's attorney. Moreno works at The Fogle Law Firm, which specializes in immigration issues.
Moreno said he received a call from Chief Counsel Greg Radics who said he reviewed the case and changed his decision, in light of Obama's recent announcement.
Last week, the judge terminated future proceedings so that Cruz no longer faces deportation, and he plans to get a work permit next week, Moreno said.
Now, Moreno can at least get a driver's license. Although, Moreno said he still faces obstacles. For instance, under Georgia's new law, Cruz is barred from attending any public Georgia college or university.
Moreno said Obama's recent executive order is "not a cure-all."
"But I think it's a step in the right direction, something that can put him (Cruz) on the pathway to permanent residency and ultimately, citizenship," Moreno said.