DACA future in doubt once again

DACA future in doubt once again

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is up in the air again after a federal judge issued an injunction against White House attempts to end it.

The Trump Administration is threatening to end the program, installed by an executive order by President Obama in 2012, in March unless Congress meets certain demands.

Under the executive order, those who were brought to the United States illegally as children, who meet certain requirements, are free from deportation.

Those dreamers are in college, serve in the military, are gainfully employed and have a clean criminal record.

The judge ruled the President does not have the authority to end it while challenges remain in court.

But that once again puts Dreamers in a quandary.

"I came here and I didn't know English," said Zaira Livier, who was brought to the U.S. when she was seven years old. "You come to a strange land you've never been to, to a culture that is very different than where you came, and it's terrifying for a child."

She has since become a permanent resident through family ties but says the years being in the country illegally take their toll.

"We knew something was wrong because we were told to avoid la migra, the trucks, to give false information if we were asked," she said. "To be very much invisible."

It's an issue at least 800,000 Dreamers must deal with. In order to become eligible for DACA, the Dreamers had to fill out applications that contained information about where they lived, worked, went to school, as well as family life, including parents, many of whom may still be illegal. An estimated million others have chosen not to apply for fear the information could be used against them.

Now, Dreamers are not so sure it won't. Many have disappeared underground, have become as Livier says, "to be very much invisible."

"Living in the shadows is such a cliche," she said. "But it is absolutely true."

"I tell them there are risks," said Patricia Mejia, an immigration attorney in Tucson who helps Dreamers move from illegal to permanent residents to citizens. "I tell them it's not permanent, so anything that is not permanent can end."

Mejia says some of her clients prefer to live their lives as if nothing has changed but can't imagine how difficult that must be.

"I can't imagine waking up and not knowing what's going to happen to your future," she said. "How do you make plans if you don't know if you will be wanted here next week, next month, next year."

Livier, who has overcome the odds by going to school and become politically active agrees.

"Its' tragic, their livelihood, their future in being held hostage by politicians, people they have never met, for the sake of political expediency," she said.

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