‘I Feel Hopeful That Liberation Has Come’: Philadelphia Immigrants Celebrate President-Elect Biden

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Advocates, legal and illegal immigrants expressed optimism about President-elect Joe Biden’s immigration policies and possible executive orders in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday.

Oneita Thompson, 48, has avoided deportation by living in sanctuary at the Tabernacle Unites Church in University City with her family for over two years, The Inquirer reported.

“I feel hopeful that liberation has come,” Thompson said, The Inquirer reported. “Sanctuary is going to be in the past.” (RELATED: Joe Biden Promises A Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Illegal Immigrants)

An immigrant from Ecuador, Blanca Pacheco, is co-director of a Philadelphia-based immigrant support group called the New Sanctuary Movement, according to The Inquirer.

“We get to catch a breath,” Pacheco said, The Inquirer reported. “I cried a lot. I didn’t realize how much weight, and physical abuse and manipulation, this administration has put on our shoulders.”

Pacheco said that a Biden victory doesn’t mean advocacy groups can relax since he served with the “deporter-in-chief,” Barack Obama, The Inquirer reported. “We could still be crushed, but with a smile,” Pacheco said.

Biden has promised a multitude of reforms within his first 100 days in office, according to The Inquirer. He will reportedly lift the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, reinstate DACA, and end the separations of children from parents at the border.

An estimated 390,000 Philadelphia residents are immigrants or the children of immigrant parents, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2018.

President Donald Trump criticized the city’s sanctuary policies, though a federal judge ruled in 2018 that the city was not obligated to enforce U.S. immigration laws, The Inquirer reported.

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