Local immigrants react to President Trump's decision to end the DACA program. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals shielded from deportation an estimated 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced the President's decision to end the program, saying it was based on Executive over-reach by former President Obama, who implemented the program.
Several local immigrants have contacted us, saying they've been part of the DACA program and are devastated by today's announcement.
A husband and wife from Carthage did not want their identities shown, or their last names given. But they wanted others to know about their situation; the situation they say many other immigrants are now experiencing.
22-year-old Jenny was born in Mexico and has lived in Carthage since she was seven. She considers herself not only an American, but also a Four Stater.
"I know the anthem," says Jenny. "I know George Washington Carver, and Abraham Lincoln, and all of them."
Jenny has been an illegal immigrant for the past 15 years. She says a broken immigration policy here requires her dad, who is an American citizen, to petition the government for citizenship for her. Jenny says her dad said he was too busy.
"We just want to have a better life for our kids," says Jenny.
Jenny's husband, David, is a six-year DACA participant. Both say they followed their parents into this country, and both say they don't want their own family separated.
"I cried," says Jenny.
The future of Jenny, David, and their three and one-year-old daughters, is even more uncertain, now that President Trump wants DACA terminated.
"My daughter came up to me and she said, 'Mommy, Mommy, please don't cry'," says Jenny.
"Not being able to supply for my family," says David.
David works at a company in Carthage, and says he pays taxes.
The Department of Homeland Security says DACA does not "grant a path to citizenship." Instead, to become citizens, Jenny and David say they would have to leave the country and wait for their citizenship requests to be approved.
"It takes thousands of dollars, which we're not that lucky to have that much money," says Jenny. "And a lot of time. And over there (Mexico), there are chances of them not going to school, because over there you have to pay for tuition for even elementary school."
Jenny and David say illegal immigration is a problem in this country. But they want the President to either make the immigration process more efficient, or deportation more fair.
"...To help the people who are willing to work for the country. And if they're not doing something good for the country, yeah, kick them out," says Jenny.
CBS News reports phasing out the DACA program will cost the U.S. nearly $25 billion in social security and medicare tax contributions. The White House has given Congress six months to come up with a solution to DACA.
Jenny and David say ending the DACA program will encourage more immigrants to stay here illegally.
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