HOUSTON – They were brought to this country as children and have spent most of their lives in the shadows.
President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order gave more than 700,000 young men and women an opportunity to come out of those shadows. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, provided relief from deportation and work permits to those hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
DACA was granted to immigrants without a criminal record and those who had a high school degree or were on track to get a degree or honorably discharged by the U.S. Military.
Donald Trump has promised to cancel “every unconstitutional executive action” issued by President Obama. He has publicly said that those who have benefited from DACA “have to go”.
The fear and concern has become increasingly real for those who are on a government list as part of this order.
“Nobody has an idea of what’s going to happen. It’s like everything is up for grabs. We don’t know what the future will bring,” said Houston immigration attorney Raed Gonzalez.
Immigration attorney Raed Gonzalez says he has been inundated with hundreds and hundreds of calls after Trump was elected for president.
“It’s really sad for a community to live in fear this way,” said Gonzalez. “Now people are afraid of opening their mouths.” Gonzalez has been reminding concerned callers that the president does not have absolute control and that things take time.
Several ‘dreamers’ told KHOU 11 News they’re worried that Republican control of the Congress could help pass Trump’s radical proposals.
“The Dream act has given us a chance, an opportunity to contribute to this country,” said Ximena Magana, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 9-years-old. “This threatens all the progress we’ve made in the last few years.”
DACA recipients are often referred to as ‘dreamers’ because they were initially hoping to get relief from the DREAM Act, legislation that ultimately did not pass.
“Is it worth it now that everything’s going to be gone? I’m going to be back to the same position before, working illegally or even sent back to a country I don’t know,” said Carlos Carrasco, who came to the U.S. when he was 12-years-old. “You don’t know what’s coming”.
Trump’s 100-day plan to “Make America Great Again” also includes removing more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act and allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward.