HOUSTON – It is seen as a major victory for more than 640,000 “Dreamers” who can now apply for deferred action through DACA. President Donald Trump’s administration reinstated the program Monday after complying with a recent court order.
Many Dreamers said it’s been rough for the past several years. They said the fear of deportation, the stress of finding work and taking care of their families has been overwhelming.
Now that DACA is back, many said this is good but it’s just the first step in the right direction.
“Ever since I was six, this is the only place I know. It would be scary, if something happened, I don’t know Mexico at all,” said mother of two, Ninive Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said she has lived in Houston pretty much her entire life. She came to the U.S. as a little girl with her mother and that her father had immigrated before them. Now, a mother of two little girls herself, she is relieved DACA was reinstated. she said she has no more fear of deportation.
“I wouldn’t like to be separated from my children. That’s the biggest thing,” Gonzalez said.
She can now apply for the DACA program and once approved, she will receive a work permit and a two-year deferral on deportation.
“The doors are open again and I just want to be able to have an opportunity to apply for a better life,” Gonzalez said.
Josue Rodriguez said he was 8 years old when his family moved from Mexico to Houston after his mother lost her job.
Rodriguez said he has finished school, graduated college and now works for a non-profit that helps at-risk youth. He said the DACA program has made that possible.
“Behind every story, behind every person, there is a family, there are dreams. Citizenship is an absolute necessity because individuals such as myself and other dreamers we have been part of the community for so long,” Rodriguez said.
Damaris Gonzalez, with the Texas Organizing Project, said that DACA being reinstated is just the first step.
“What the community wants is a more amplified solution that can help 11 million undocumented families that are living in the shadows right now,” Damaris Gonzalez. said
Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL, an immigrant right’s organization, released the following written statement:
“We are hopeful in the official announcement that DHS has made following the Federal Judge’s order. We are cautiously optimistic that this time around no further injunctions will be filed and we will be able to move on with our lives. Many DACA eligible youth were left out of the program for a variety of reasons.
“The DACA program has time and time again proven to be a very successful program, even allowing some of our youth to enter the medical field and serve as essential workers during this time of great need. We hope that this news may encourage both our communities and allies to revamp our efforts to advocate and educate on the need for a permanent solution for DACA eligible youth and their families.”
As of Monday, the Department of Homeland Security began accepting new DACA applications for the first time in three years.
DHS will also grant approved applicants work permits and deportation deferrals for two years.