MIAMI (WSVN) - The White House and President Donald Trump have begun reviewing an Obama-era program that has allowed thousands of children who were brought into the United States illegally to remain in the country.
The Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a program started by President Barack Obama in 2012. DACA allows certain people who came to the United States as children to request consideration of deferment for a period of two years.
On Friday, Trump began reviewing DACA’s standing and whether the program will continue. Ten states are threatening to sue the U.S. government if DACA does not come to an end.
“It’s immoral. It would be an abomination,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., about any decision that could do away with the program. “To put another way, we’ll kick our ‘Dreamers’ out of the country.”
Friday night, local DACA supporters gathered in front of the Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami for a candlelight vigil. Participants spoke out for the rights of the estimated 800,000 young immigrants who would be affected by a DACA phase-out.
Earlier Friday, South Floridians attended a DACA workshop at Miami Dade College, Friday, and some who are in the U.S. because of the program expressed their concerns.
“This is home,” said a girl at the workshop. “Everything about this is home.”
Manuel Jimenez, who is protected by DACA, said the end of the program would mean the end of his dreams. “Taking this away is pretty much taking our dreams away,” said Jimenez, “and turning them into nightmares.”
Sara Mora, another DACA recipient, gave a speech at the workshop and spoke of what may happen if the program is revoked. “If my DACA is revoked, I will be thrown in the deportation line,” she said.
If Trump ends the program, he is expected to allow the “Dreamers,” those who are here because of DACA, to stay in the U.S. until their work permits expire.
South Florida politicians have also spoken out as to why they believe Trump and his administration should not end DACA. “President Trump needs to heed the call of CEOs, business leaders, elective leaders, community leaders across the country who fervently believe that these Dreamer kids should be able to stay in this country,” said Wasserman Schultz.
“I ask the president, no matter what the decision he makes on this executive order, [to] work with the Congress to give these young people a permanent solution, something more valuable than the DACA executive order,” said U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.
Curbelo believes the DACA decision could actually push for positive change that provides Dreamers a path to citizenship.
“In Congress, we are going to work very hard in the next few months to find that permanent solution so that they never have to worry about this again,” he said. “Let’s recognize that these young people are America’s children and that they deserve a place in our country.”
“The question here is: Who came first?” said City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. “So, in Miami, everyone came from somewhere, and this is why the city has been a supporter of the Dreamers.”
DACA supporters hope their influence can help keep the program alive. “We hope having people recognize what’s going on, just speaking our dreams, speaking our chances,” said DACA recipient Celis Benavides. “Not many are informed of all that could go wrong.”
The White House has announced that a decision in regards to DACA will be announced on Tuesday.
Organizers of Friday night’s vigil said they have several more rallies planned in South Florida ahead of Tuesday’s decision.
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