AUSTIN (KXAN) – 120,000 people who came to Texas illegally as young children could soon face deportation.
Tuesday, President Donald Trump is expected to announce he will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, or DACA program. It protects people brought to this country illegally as children.
Two rallies are planned around Austin. At 2 p.m. outside the J.J. Pickle Federal Building along E. 8th St. the University Leadership Initiative (ULI) will hold a protest. The organization is led by undocumented youth, for undocumented youth based in Austin and advocates for the rights of the undocumented immigrant community primarily at the local and state levels. At 4:15 p.m. outside the Texas Attorney General’s office on W. 14th St. DACA students, teachers, and union leaders will rally in support of DACA.
Yunuen Alvarado came to America from Mexico with her parents illegally. She was 7 years old. Now she goes to Texas State University.
“I’m scared. I’m not afraid to say that I’m scared about what’s going to happen to me if DACA gets taken away,” said Alvarado.
The program allows her to get a driver license and a work permit. She must pay nearly $500 every two years for the temporary status. If that goes away, she could get deported if ICE takes custody of her.
“It’s also given my mom a sense of security that she doesn’t have to be as worried,” said Alvarado.
For years, Republicans have grumbled at the executive order by then-President Obama saying Congress should set immigration policy. President Trump was elected in part because of his tough stance on immigration, vowing to roll back Obama era policies. Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton asked the Administration to scrap DACA by Tuesday or else Texas will sue the administration for executive overreach. Paxton led a coalition of nine states, but the decision remains in the President’s hands.
“It’s very frustrating because it feel like they’re playing with our lives,” said Juan Belman, who was 10 years old when he crossed the border illegally near Laredo.
“The President leans one way then another, so to be honest what I’m hoping for is my community is safe,” said Belman. He’s planning a rally and press conference Tuesday through the University Leadership Initiative, an immigrant youth organization. He doubts if the President will pull the program but he’ll find out in the days ahead.
The President is expected to announce his decision Tuesday, ending the program six months from now. But nothing is official until the President’s announcement.
Those accepted mostly come from Mexico. The country with the second highest number of accepted applicants is El Salvador, followed by Guatemala and Honduras. The permits are good for two years. California is the most populated state, Texas comes in second. New York, Illinois and Florida round out the top five.