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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Barack Obama is giving a speech Thursday night that should quell the fears of illegal immigrants in the U.S. Well, at least one Miami-Dade woman hopes that is the case.

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“I love my family,” Elsa Mourino said, Thursday, brushing a tear from her cheek.

Mourino is an illegal immigrant. The Honduran swam the Rio Grande into the U.S. about 10 years ago.

She married her Cuban-American husband, Adan, a U.S. citizen.  They have had two children, little Ethan and his big brother Anthony.  Both the boys are U.S. citizens.  But Mourino, nonetheless, remains under a deportation order for having entered the country illegally.

“We are very depressed.  My husband is very depressed.  We can’t live like this,” Mourino told CBS4’s Gary Nelson Thursday at her sister-in-law’s home in Southwest Miami-Dade.  She fears that any day the knock could come at the door; immigration agents coming to take her away.

CLICK HERE To Watch Gary Nelson’s Report 

President Obama’s speech is expected to ease Mourino’s anxiety with an executive order granting residency to millions of undocumented immigrants.  The president has said since Congress won’t act on immigration reform, he will.

Republicans are livid.

“Failing to get your way in Congress doesn’t mean the president can simply override Congress with a stroke of his pen,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas on Thursday.

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Mourino’s family said Congress needs to have a heart.

“All this bickering that’s going on in government; these are people’s lives,” said Mourino’s mother-in-law, Maria Santibanez.  “These are children that don’t know if they are going to wake up, either without their mother here, or they’re going to wake up in a strange country.”

Immigration attorney Grisel Ybarra has represented Mourino against the government’s efforts to deport her.  Ybarra called Obama’s expected actions a very limited reform.

“This is a Band-Aid.  We’re going to put a little Band-Aid on,” Ybarrra said.  She said Republicans would be foolish to try to overturn the president’s limited reform, noting that while Mourino – from Honduras – can’t vote, her extended Cuban American family can.

“When 2016 comes around, Mourino’s entire family – even though their Cubans and may have been Republicans before – are going to vote for the Democrats because they legalized their little darling,” Ybarra said.

Mourino doesn’t get all the politics of it, but is grateful the president is poised to help her.

“I feel very happy, because I don’t want to lose my family,” she said, before breaking down into tears.

Conservatives insist there can be no immigration reform until the border is sealed – that without that, any amnesty would invite a flood of millions more illegal immigrants.  Republicans have threatened a lawsuit, challenging the president’s authority to act unilaterally on immigration.


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