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Duke students head to DC to show support for DACA

Posted November 11, 2019 5:49 p.m. EST
Updated November 12, 2019 10:14 a.m. EST

— When the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday deliberates a program that protected young people brought to this country illegally, several students from Duke University will be in Washington, D.C., to make sure they are heard.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is the immigration policy initiated by executive order by President Barack Obama. Also called the Dream Act, it allows those who were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday and prior to June 2007, to receive a renewable two-year period that delays any deportation and enables them to work legally in the U.S.

President Donald Trump wants to end the program, which would end protection for nearly a million undocumented young people.

Duke senior Axel Ramos is one of those who is benefiting from DACA. He was born in Honduras, and his mother brought him to the U.S. when he was 7.

"North Carolina is home. Durham is home," Ramos said.

Ramos is heading to D.C., as the Supreme Court considers his fate and that of thousands of other dreamers.

"It’s about making a statement as a community. I think DACA recipients are spread around the whole country. It’s kind of a way for us to come together once again and say, 'We’re here. Our families are here. We matter,'" Ramos said.

Duke sophomore Ana Trejo will make the journey, too.

"My father was deported in 2010. He was actually deported the day of my 10th birthday," she said.

Trejo is a U.S. citizen, born in Georgia, but her father's deportation forever changed her family.

"It’s not just my family. My family is just one of millions who has been separated," she said.

She feels like she needs to be in D.C.

"I think the main goal of going is being present, showing our solidarity that here is home, that imaginary lines shouldn’t divide real people," she said.

Ramos, who is six months away from graduation, says if DACA is rescinded, the Duke education he worked to obtain will be meaningless, if he cannot legally work.

"Essentially, it could nullify my education completely," he said. "I don’t know what to do with my degree after that if DACA gets taken away or if I don’t have work authorization, but I’m not going anywhere."

In tweets about the program last month, Trump said that should the court overturn DACA, it would force Congress to reach a different solution to help the Dreamers.

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