DACA recipients fear what end of program will mean for their future
AUSTIN, Texas - Tuesday, the President will announce a decision on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Many DACA recipients fear what ending that program would mean for their future.
Texas is home to a significant number of the country's 800,000 DACA recipients, second only to California.
Karen Reyes moved to the United States with her parents when she was only 2 years old.
“We had no choice and I would never put fault on my parents at all, but we were little,” Reyes said.
She lived in Texas, undocumented, afraid of being deported, until she was 24.
When then President Barack Obama announced he would grant protections from deportation to those who met certain requirements under the DACA program, Reyes was one of the first to apply.
“There are about 800,000 people who've got Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They're childhood arrivals, who are innocent, have gone through a strict government screening and have filed once, maybe twice, to be extended in their permits,” said attorney Thomas Esparza, Jr. who specializes in immigration law.
For the last five years, Reyes and hundreds of thousands of other undocumented immigrants have been able to live, go to school and work in the U.S. under the program.
“We grew up in the American school system, we pledge allegiance to the same flag, we stand up for the national anthem just like everyone else,” Reyes said.
This year ten attorneys general, including Ken Paxton, asked President Donald Trump to reconsider the program. Now the future for DACA recipients like Reyes is uncertain.
“What will I do? I mean, I've worked so hard to be a teacher and, I mean, it is a little emotional because I went through my undergrad, my masters, and all I want to do is teach kids who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Reyes.
When asked about DACA on FOX News Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott responded by saying, ”We wouldn't have this whole issue about DACA if congress would step up and pass immigration reform and do so in working with the president.”
Travis County Republican Party Communications Director Andy Hogue agrees that comprehensive reform is needed to fix the current immigration system.
Hogue said Congress will need to end DACA in order to do that.
“There's a human side to this. There are children that are caught in the middle and they didn't ask to be here and perhaps you can make the case that morally they shouldn't be shipped back home, but really we've got to remove the magnet, the magnet that brings parents across the border to have a child and stay here illegally,” Hogue said.
FOX News reports congress will have six months to take action following the president's announcement.