Anxiety is rising in the immigrant community over a threat from nine states to sue the Trump administration unless DACA is reversed.
That's the policy protecting “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were children. It was put in place by President Obama.
Those nine states, governors and attorney generals, have listed a September 5th deadline to file the suit.
Repealing the policy would be a “betrayal” said Senator Tim Kaine. “I’m doing anything I can to try to persuade the White House that backtracking on this would be big mistake.”
“I’m worried about him (President Trump) just taking it away and sending us back to our country, but this country is our home,” said Reneta Aldaz, a student at George Mason University.
“I came here when I was three years old with my brother, sister and parents…from Ecuador. But I don’t even remember anything about Ecuador,” said Aldaz, who said she’s gone through stages of “grief” considering a DACA repeal. “
Disbelief, shock, anger, fear," she said.
DACA allows the “Dreamers” to receive instate tuition. Aldaz is a student at George Mason University. She and Giancarla Rojaz Mendoza’ a former Dreamer, were part of a panel speaking to Senator Kaine about the issue at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria campus on August 30.
Rojas Mendoza attended NVCC for two years and then transferred to Radford University where she earned her degree. She now works for Forward, at an organization advocating for a permanent DACA law.
“It’s very scary right now because those 800,000 DACA recipients could be under deportation as soon as DACA is repealed,” said Rojas Mendoza.
She is now a legal resident, but remembers the fear she faced in high school prior to DACA when she was under deportation orders. She now fears for her sister.
“She is in high school she wants to go to college in Virginia. We depend on DACA in order to get instate tuition,” said Rojas Mendoza. “We pay taxes, we contribute to our community."
DACA has given students hope, says Monica Gomez who has been a counselor at NVCC before and after DACA went into affect in 2012.
“Just students feeling like college is even possible now. A lot of times before DACA was instituted where was a lot of helplessness and hopelessness that college was not going to be feasible,” said Gomez. “DACA has really helped turned that around for a lot of students.”
Senator Kaine said his office has just “heard a bunch of rumors” about whether the White House plans to repeal it or not.
He said if it is repealed, 20 states are threatening to sue in that case.