FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Reports are swirling in Washington that President Trump plans to end a program that grants certain rights to undocumented immigrants who are brought to the country as children. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, allows the immigrants to live and work without fear of deportation.
In the Summit City, there are DACA “dreamers” who say they won’t be sleeping well Monday night since Trump may be announcing his DACA reversal plan Tuesday.
DACA protects an estimated 800,000 immigrants who were brought to America as children from deportation. They also receive work permits which expire every two years – but can be renewed.
Raul Perez and Irma Briseno both immigrated from Mexico with their parents in the mid 1990’s. If DACA is reversed, they say they’ll have no place to call home.
“I was raised here as an American,” Briseno said. “So I don’t have any clue how it’ll be to start all over in Mexico. I know Mexico by pictures. I know Mexico by the stories other people tell me, but I don’t really know how it is.”
Briseno’s biggest fear would be separating from her kids.
“I have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old,” she said. “They won’t be able to come with me. They have to stay here because they’re citizens and I’d have to leave.”
Perez fears his life will go backwards. He’s a professional graphic designer who’s just started his own graphic t-shirt company.
“Everything you do in life has to go forward,” he said. “It has to be better than you did it before. My biggest fear is losing my job, losing my driver’s licence, losing my identity. The simple things that people take for granted like an I.D. and a way to prove who you are.”
He’s begging congress to help them out. He says they’ve worked hard for the American system and have played by the rules.
“They have to put a better way for us to get legal citizenship because right now there is no process for us [through DACA],” Perez said. “We’re stuck in limbo, but if DACA has proven anything it’s that everything can go in a positive way and it could be a good asset for both us and America. We love this country. We love our neighbors. They love us.”
Perez and Briseno say they’re asking everyone they know to contact their congressional representatives to help them fight the DACA reversal. They’re not sure what else they can really do. The White House has sent signals that it may consider whatever legislative fix congress can come up with.