ASSOCIATED PRESS: Immigrant advocate: Many left out by Obama action

Published:  Nov 21, 2014 at 4:45 PM PDT Last Updated: Nov 21, 2014 at 5:53 PM PDT

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – One day after President Barack Obama announced his executive action on immigration, advocates and immigrants gathered outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma on Friday to highlight those left out.”For those millions and millions that are not going to be protected under the president’s executive action, we’re here for them. We’re going to tell the stories of those that are not going to be protected,” said Maru Mora Villalpondo, an immigrant advocate who will now be covered by Obama’s plan.Obama’s executive action affects more than 4 million immigrants nationwide, including about 105,000 in Washington state, according to government estimates and a think-tank’s study.The biggest part of the president’s plan protects parents who are in the country illegally but whose children are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, regardless of age. To be eligible, the parents would have to have lived in the U.S. for five years.

But Villalpando says single workers; gay, lesbians and transgendered immigrants who usually don’t have children; as well as people with minor criminal records will be left out.

“I don’t think it’s fair that with this decision, there’s a lot of people left out,” said Ramon Torres, a farmworker from Skagit County.

According to estimates by the D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute, there are about 77,000 parents in Washington state who could qualify for the deferred action program for parents of citizen children or children in the country legally. Another 28,000 people could join the expanded program for young immigrants.

A recent Pew Research Center study estimated there are 230,000 immigrants in the country illegally residing in Washington state.

Also attending the event on Friday was Claudia Martinez, who will be eligible for protection but her husband will likely not qualify because of a drunken driving arrest. One of her children has already enrolled in the program for young immigrants.

“I feel sad for my husband because he’s the one who works. I’d like him to have a work permit, so we can advance,” she said in Spanish.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the president’s actions were limited but will allow those eligible to stop “living in fear.”

“This is a band aid, not a complete fix. This will help some people, not everyone,” Murray said Friday. “The real answer to this is to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Meanwhile, Republican criticisms of Obama’s action continued.

Rep. Dave Reichert said “I believe that our immigration system is broken and that we can find and must find a solution, but it is not up to the president to do it alone.”