Dreamers worry about what's next with DACA as a major sticking point in budget battle
MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - One of the biggest sticking points for Democrats in the budget battle is DACA.
They want an extension protecting so-called "dreamers". The program gives immigrants who arrived illegally as children a path to citizenship.
For Fernando Valdez being a "dreamer" is an opportunity to be someone.
“DACA basically changed my life completely,” Valdez said.
He's been in Dayton since age 14, brought here illegally from Mexico.
In 2012, President Obama granted ‘dreamers’ like him the temporary right to live, study and work in America legally.
He's now married with three kids, operating a trucking company.
“If they shut DACA down they will be shutting my dream down,” Valdez said.
This has been a common fear among hundreds of local ‘dreamers’, including Shane and Sasha Mangroo.
“It has consumed my life, the worry and the stress and it's unnecessary,” Shane said.
The brother and sister arrived here illegally from Trinidad and Tobago nearly 20 years ago. DACA helped both establish their adult lives.
“It has been everything, from getting our license to getting our schooling, a job to go to school,” Sasha said.
In September, President Trump decided to scrap the program. A decision impacting 800,000 dreamers.
Immigration lawyer Karen Bradley says families have been used as a political pawn.
“I think it's disgusting and appalling,” Bradley exclaimed.
She says this frenzy could have been averted.
“I think the majority of American people, support something, a path especially for these young people who came here as children,” Bradley said.
Some DACA permits expire this year, others end in 2019.
Fernando, Shane and Sasha hope soon worries fade, so they can look forward to a bright future.