SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Utah Dreamers were in Washington D.C. to meet with Senators and Representatives from Utah about the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Lawmakers are looking for a solution after President Donald Trump announced he would end the program in six months.
Dreamers are immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were children. For many this is the only home they know.
Francisco Juarez is a 22 year old senior at the University of Utah who is also a Dreamer. He was brought to the U.S. from Mexico by his parents when he was six months old. He was one of five Utah Dreamers lobbying the Utah delegation to get something done.
He described how scary life was without the protections under DACA.
“I’ve always been terrified of the possibility of being deported from the only country I know,” said Juarez. “I’ve lived here for almost 23 years.”
DACA allowed Dreamers to get temporary work permits, and finally be documented and qualify for certain scholarships and in state tuition.
Many Dreamers are now adults who are either in school or working in the community. There is a fear that deporting them or losing their status could cause serious ripple effects across communities and the economy.
Supporters hoped by traveling to D.C. they could help lawmakers realize what was on the line. Deyvid Morales was also a local Dreamer who hopes telling their personal stories will carry more wight in the debate.
“We need to share our stories, and again statistics are just numbers until you meet the one,” said Morales. “For a lot of these people I think we were the ones and I think a lot of these stories really changed their minds.”
All of the Dreamers who met with the Utah delegation thought good progress was made and are hopeful they will support the measure down the road. Both Republicans and Democrats have said a bill could be ready to go by Christmas.
Dreamers say they hope it happens sooner because many are already losing their documented status with the program in limbo.