DACA Dreamers anxiously await presidential decision

Supporters march downtown in support of keeping DACA

SAN ANTONIO – At least 100 people took to the streets of downtown San Antonio for a midday march Friday in support of keeping the program known Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

The program temporarily shields those who qualify from deportation. Nearly 800,000 DACA recipients now await their fate.

President Donald Trump said he expects to make his decision by Tuesday.

“Sometime over the weekend, probably Sunday, Saturday, latest will be Monday,” he said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has asked Trump to let Congress “fix” DACA. Other conservatives have urged that DACA be saved.

As a candidate, Trump had promised to end the program that former President Barack Obama had created by executive action. But as president, Trump has said, “We love the Dreamers” and that he would act “with heart” in deciding the issue.

Several states, including Texas, have threatened to sue the federal government if the program is not scrapped by Tuesday.

Laquita Garcia, the lead organizer with the Texas Organizing Project, said Friday’s march was meant to draw attention to what’s at stake.

“Their livelihoods, their future,” Garcia said about the many DACA recipients who have graduated from college and are now young professionals.

“They’re in jeopardy of losing those positions due to no longer being allowed to work in the United States,” Garcia said.

Brought to America from Mexico at the age 14, Jessica Azua was among the first DACA recipients in 2012. She earned a degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources from Texas A&M San Antonio.

“I try not to think about, like, me being deported. I’m thinking more about what I can do to prevent that,” Azua said.

Azua works as Texas Organizing Project’s state immigration organizer. She said she considers the United States and San Antonio her home.

“It has given so much to me that I wanted to give back,” Azua said. “I pay my taxes. I don’t get in any trouble. I don’t even have a traffic ticket.”

Marching through downtown was Patricia Meredith, who said she considers her son’s best friend, a DACA recipient, as her own son.

“He’s fully employed. He’s done nothing wrong,” Meredith said. “I’m sick of hearing that these are criminals. They are not.”

As she and the others stood chanting in front of U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s downtown office, Meredith said: “I’m begging our political leaders to make a difference and stop the insanity. We are a compassionate country, and I ask you to stop it right now.”

Cornyn did not issue a statement in response.

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