DACA recipients hold out hope immigration reform will be revived in Congress

Immigration reform removed from massive budget proposal

SAN ANTONIO – Much like many of the estimated 600,000 DACA recipients, Andrea Ramos Fernandez and Monsi Contreras were disappointed with Sunday’s decision to remove immigration reform from the pending $3.5 trillion budget proposal in Congress.

A UTSA graduate now earning a master’s degree in public administration from New York University in New York City, Fernandez said she was working on her micro-economics homework when she heard about the decision.

“I just kept thinking, ‘when am I finally going to be able to focus on my homework or focus on my life, rather than having to worry about another individual making a decision that will impact the lives of millions?’” Fernandez said.

Contreras, now a small business owner, said, “Obviously, the first initial reaction is just disappointment.”

Fernandez, who analyzes data for the Texas Business Immigration Coalition, said she disagrees with the Senate parliamentarian’s deciding immigration reform would not impact the federal budget enough to be included in the budget reconciliation process.

“We do know that there is a massive impact of getting 11 million people to contribute fully into the American economy,” she said.

Both said they are still hopeful immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship could still happen, possibly this year.

“There’s already been conversations about the fact that there is going to be another proposal, and just to give it a couple more weeks, Fernandez said.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in a statement he was aware Democrats have another plan.

“While I haven’t seen the details about what that might entail, I seriously doubt it will succeed,” Cornyn said.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, said, “I’m working hard with my colleagues in the Senate on alternative proposals that can pass muster in this budget bill.”

Also still in play, a federal court ruling in July that effectively ended DACA, which is now being appealed by the Biden administration and could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.