No easy answers for Trump, 'dreamers' he would deport
Posted September 4
Durham, N.C. — The reports that President Donald J. Trump will scrap the program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to live, study and work in the United States without the threat of deportation, has many watching, waiting and wondering what will become of the only home they've known.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, was established by the Obama administration in 2012. It allows anyone who came to the U.S. at the age of 16 or younger and who was no older than 30 when the policy took effect to get a driver's license, enroll in college and work legally for a period of two years. The so-called "Dreamers" must regularly apply to renew their status.
In 2013, there were about 17,000 DACA applicants in North Carolina, according to the Brookings Institute. Data from the Department of Homeland Security shows that there have been roughly 27,000 DACA applications approved in North Carolina from the inception of the program through late 2016. As of July 31, 2015, more than 790,000 young people nationwide had been approved under the program, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
According to reports, the president will not immediately scrap the plan. Instead, he will ask Congress to develop an alternative and allow them a six month window to do so.
That grace period offers little consolation to Lilibeth Morales, who’s been in the US since she was 3 months old.
"I’m kind of scared," she said Monday. "I already started college at Meredith, so it feels like all my hard work and my parents hard work doesn’t go to waste."
Morales is studying chemistry and wants to be a pharmacist.
Trump has called the decision one of his toughest, and there is passion on both sides.
At least nine state attorneys general say the program is unconstitutional and that ending it would restore law and order.
Viviana Mateo, 18, points out that the United States has a vested interest in her success. She is a high school senior who came to the U.S. at 3 months old.
"We’re just asking to be able to be given the chance to prove ourselves and give back and invest back in the economy that the government has already invested in us from kindergarten through 12th grade," she said.
Reyna Fordo Gutierrez, 16, who registered for deferral through DACA worries a change makes her more vulnerable than those who stayed in the shadows.
"I start thinking if he takes it away, the government has my information. One day they could just come knock on my door and take me away and take my mom away," she said. "I just feel enclosed in a little room where I can’t breathe."