Immigration Summit Takes on Bleak Future of DACA

October 15, 2019
In The News

Winter Garden, FL- The LULAC Council of Central Florida held its first immigration summit at Polk State College.

One of the main topics was the future of DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It’s a federal program created through executive order by President Barack Obama to allow teenagers and young adults brought into the United States illegally as children to be able to get a driver’s license, work, and attend college.

Renewals are still being accepted, but President Donald Trump disallowed people to apply for the program in 2017, and the decision of whether it can be overturned is now sitting before the United States Supreme Court.

Rep. Darren Soto (D-Florida) and several immigration attorneys attending the summit speculated the Supreme Court Justices would rule to allow President Trump to end the DACA program.

Yessenia Abarca Villanueva, a 23- year old University of Central Florida student said that was troubling news. She’s had DACA for several years and enjoys the freedom it gives her to be able to drive legally. She said her parents brought her to the United States from Mexico when she was 5.

“I’m definitely very, very worried because again my life can change from one moment to another where I have right now the opportunity to commute to the University of Central Florida to continue my education, to be a young professional,” said Abarca Villanueva.

There’s fear undocumented immigrants enrolled in the DACA program could be sent to removal proceedings for deportation if the program ends, since the government already has their information.

“The status of dreamers is very tenuous and that fear is justified. Which is why our bill, the Dream and Promise Act, which would basically be the Dream act and the TPS element, would save the Dreamers, but the Senate has to vote on it. We have done our part in the house. We have fixed the DACA program, put it into a bill that would make it law, and now the Senate has to do the same,” Soto said.

Soto said the Dream and Promise Act legislation provides a path to citizenship for not only Dreamers, but also to many who are in the United States on Temporary Protective Status, or TPS, which encompasses many in the Haitian community. Soto said it would impact two million immigrants currently in the United States.

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments regarding DACA in November.

Soto said he also sponsored a bill that passed in the House with bipartisan support, granting TPS status to Venezuelans. He estimates there are about 180,000 Venezuelans living in Florida.

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