Dreamers worried about families despite their own potential path to citizenship

DACA recipients and members of the University Leadership Initiative gathered in Austin to protest the decision to end the DACA program. (KXAN Photo/ Chris Nelson).
DACA recipients and members of the University Leadership Initiative gathered in Austin to protest the decision to end the DACA program. (KXAN Photo/ Chris Nelson).

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dreamers tell us they aren’t finding any comfort in President Trump’s plan to give young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. The proposal includes tougher restrictions on legal immigration and $25 billion for a border wall. But, some say it’s a step in the right direction.

“For me and for a lot of students right now, everybody is kind of on edge, everybody is kind of not sure what the future holds and I think we’ve had that for a while now,” DACA student Jose Garibay told KXAN.

Garibay is a junior at St. Edward’s University, majoring in political science. He came to the U.S. from Mexico.

“I came here with my family when I was 4 years old,” he said. “We lived in a small town, you know, I still remember dirt roads. We didn’t have hot water, you know, those commodities.”

Hearing the news of what’s being described as a compromise, for him, only creates more questions.

“I don’t think any DACA student would feel any safer if, you know, maybe they had a path to citizenship but their parents were still kind of worried about not having that,” Garibay said. “Donald Trump is kind of using DACA students and being like – OK I’m willing to compromise with them but, you know, not really willing to listen to any others.”

Right now, Trump’s proposal would not allow the parents of DACA immigrants to seek lawful status.

The plan would also end the diversity visa lottery program.

“I think we need to calm down and look at the things that make sense and things that are logical and rational like changing the way immigration laws so we are bringing in the best and brightest and not just through a random process,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told KXAN. “I think we have an opportunity here to provide for DACA fix, but also provide security that I think Americans want.”

Rep. McCaul introduced a bill that allows DACA recipients to receive renewable legal status, but ensures those with serious criminal convictions are not eligible for legal status.

“I think we have a mandate from the president and I think both sides of the aisle want a fix to DACA,” McCaul said. “So I think that’s why I’m optimistic that we’re going to get there.”

Some Democrats have blasted the plan as “a hateful, xenophobic immigration proposal.” But, the controversy for conservative members hinges on opening the citizenship door for DACA recipients.

Senator Ted Cruz called the move a “profound mistake” and said it’s not consistent with the promises made to voters.

In a statement, Travis County GOP Chairman Matt Mackowiak told KXAN, “The Republican Platform calls for opposing amnesty and the vast majority of Republicans agree. That said, in our country we treat minors differently than adults in our legal system. All Republicans hope President Trump can secure significant new investments in border security and the process of legislative negotiation will require some compromise.”

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