Local undocumented immigrants fear future of DACA
WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) - According to the Brookings Institution, in North Carolina, 15,000-17,000 undocumented immigrants initially applied for a chance to come out of the shadows.
Michelle Valladarez was among them in 2012. Five years later, this group faces a new shadow of uncertainty.
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"Part of me feels nervous," said Valladarez. The 20-year-old is anxiously awaiting President Donald Trump's announcement Tuesday on the fate of DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is a temporary program adopted in 2012, by then President Barack Obama, that allows undocumented children, also known as Dreamers, who are under the age of 16, to remain in the U.S., if they pay a fee, and pass certain guidelines.
Valladarez is one of those Dreamers whose future here hangs in the balance of Trump's decision. And she's skeptical. "We've heard him say in the news that Trump has a big heart for the dreamers but part of his campaign was riding on was to get rid of anything from Obama Administration era. The DACA was a big part of it." When Valladarez was eight, she crossed the border into the U.S. to seek refuge from turmoil in her native country, Honduras. "I just know that my dad got involved with the wrong people. It really put me and my brother in danger." Valladarez and her family settled in Wake County. After graduation from high school, she had hopes of enlisting into the Air Force. But that dream was deferred because of her illegal status. But all wasn't lost. Because of DACA, Valladarez was approved to work legally and receive a license to drive. Now she's a paralegal for an immigration firm. She's nervous about her future if DACA ends with no program to replace it. "Even if DACA stays, DACA is a very temporary solution," said Valladarez. "That is something that could be taken away at any time. If not by him, the next president." "Permanent residency would be so much better." In the summer, Republicans and Democrats introduced a bipartisan bill called the "DREAM Act of 2017." The law would provide a direct pathway to permanent residency for people like Valladarez. Her hope is the president will support the measure.