PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Democrats across the region are calling on Congress to protect immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.
This comes as President Donald Trump pushes to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Portland and was met with protesters against his urging for Portland’s leaders to crack on on undocumented immigrants.
Washington County Democrats met Wednesday with immigration attorney Luis Garcia for the latest news on DACA.
“Yes, it’s very concerning and the future is uncertain,” Garcia said. “It’s uncertain for these group of individuals.”
That group includes more than 800,000 young people. Under the Obama-era program, Dreamers were given the ability to work legally in the US in the form of 2-year, renewable work permits.
“If they are in the group that can not renew for an additional 2 years, the moment their work status and DACA status expires, they start committing an unlawful presence, which affects their immigration options down the road,” Garcia said.
It could mean being unable to work or even deportation.
“I mean put yourself in their shoes, right?” Matthew Koehler said at the meeting. “If you are working in the country and then suddenly your right to work is taken away from you, how would you feel? How would you support your kids, your family? How you gonna support this lively hood you have in this country.”
Many people are fired up and have been since the announcement was made. They say they’ll do whatever they can to make sure their families aren’t torn apart.
“What we could is ask legislation to give a permanent relief for these individuals and don’t just give a deferred status,” Garcia said. “Give them a path to residency, give them a path to citizenship.”