Local activist respond to US Attorney General's decision to rescind DACA
SAN ANTONIO- Local activists in support of "deferred action for childhood arrivals” or DACA are speaking out after the announcement that the government will "wind down" the program. The program started in 2012 under the Obama administration and provided legal status for children brought to America illegally by their parents.
There are more than 800,000 DACA youth in the U.S., more than 124,000 of them are in Texas. Now, 23-year-old, Seven Flores came to Texas from Mexico with his parents when he was 9 years old.
"At first I thought it was very difficult, I started to tell myself that it was pointless to study, because I couldn't even pass a check point, but eventually I started working and changed my mentality, and then DACA came in and it completely changed my life just like other people,” said DACA recipient Seven Flores.
Flores recently graduated from Texas A&M San Antonio. He is one hundreds of thousands who have achieved education and work as a result of DACA. But Tuesday Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the government will stop processing new applicants, and give congress six months to find a fix to the program. And recipients like Flores may not be renewed.
"These are kids that have been vetted, they don't have criminal records, in most cases they have a GED or high school diploma and their primary purpose for being involved in this program is so that they can work,” said Gabriel Velasquez with the Avenida Guadalupe Association.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement, "I applaud President Trump for phasing out DACA. As the Texas-led coalition explained in our June letter, the Obama-era program went far beyond the executive branch's legitimate authority," And Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the senate homeland security and government affairs committee says, “DACA was an unconstitutional overreach by the Obama administration that created incentives for children from central America to take great risks to enter America illegally. "
"Achieving the American dream is hard, we have to be willing to fight for it, we know that. Well the DACA kids and the rest of the immigrant population need to know that if they want this bad enough they will have to fight for it,” said Velasquez.
"Regardless of what has happened today, we still need to fight for private protection and these things. Because, even if Trump had decided to keep the program, anyway someone else could come in and challenge it,” said Flores.
US Congressman Lloyd Doggett who tells me, he feels the president has not done his job in this. He is hopeful that they can get the support of congress to keep DACA alive.