MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump said on Friday that he expects to announce a decision this weekend on whether to repeal a policy that impacts nearly 800,000 “dreamers” across the United States.
The Obama-era policy called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program — or DACA — allows people who came here illegally as children to remain in the U.S., work and avoid deportation.
Candidate Trump routinely promised to end what he called President Obama’s “unconstitutional amnesties.”
Trump’s upcoming decision comes amid mounting pressure from Republican attorneys general of 10 states who have set a deadline of Tuesday to dismantle DACA.
If it’s not dismantled, they say they will sue the federal government
Eliana Sanchez Marban has few memories of being 7 years old, when her family illegally crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.
“My mom had to walk through the desert and everything,” Sanchez Marban said. “Me and my older brother were fortunate enough to come through a car.”
Now 25, Sanchez Marban is registered for the DACA program, which she has to renew every two years.
“This [country] is all I know,” Sanchez Marban said. “People actually don’t know that if you have any kind of criminal background, you cannot, you don’t qualify for DACA.”
The program doesn’t provide a path to citizenship, but it has allowed Sanchez Marban to work and go to school. She hopes to become a paralegal.
“This is the only life we know. This is where we have our friends, our family, our schools, our jobs,” she said. “This is everything to us.”
Sanchez Marban’s boss, immigration attorney Jeff Larson, says thousands like her will lose their ability to work and legally avoid deportation if DACA is repealed — including those who may have children of their own who were born in the U.S.
“If you’re really pro-family, what a terrible stress that is on a family,” Larson said. “So if we’re talking about family values, those families also have to be included.”
Fear slowly replaces hope for Sanchez Marban as a decision on DACA nears.
“They might come looking for us and send us back,” she said.
Uncertainty looms over a future she hoped could be lived out of the shadows.