FIEL, impacted families travel to New Orleans to be present at DACA hearing held at 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

HOUSTON – FIEL spokespeople and families affected by DACA gathered at the organization’s headquarters Tuesday morning to announce their trip to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans Wednesday.

DACA, Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, was created by then-President Barack Obama through executive action. Last year, a Texas federal judge issued a ruling blocking new DACA recipients, essentially closing the door to the program.

“We cannot allow this court to take away one of the few programs that protect our undocumented community members. DACA must stay and DACA should be protected by the federal courts and allowed to operate fully including for new applicants,” said Hyunja Norman, Executive Director of Woori Juntos.

The group boarded a bus, making the six-hour trip to be present at the hearing on DACA. A decision may not be made on Wednesday, but the group has stated its importance of attending the hearing to send a message that they will not stay silent.

Advocates like Yolanda Batz, who qualifies for DACA, believe the program needs to be reinstated but more should be done by the federal government to protect undocumented people.

“I qualify for DACA, and I applied but because of the Texas judge who said it was illegal I wasn’t allowed to get DACA so now pretty much I can’t do anything. With DACA I’ve got to have a lot more privilege,” Batz said.

The now 20-year-old was brought to Texas when she was three years old.

“I haven’t been able to get a driver’s license. I can’t get a job and at any point in time. I could possibly be deported, so life is really just, like everybody says, life is a limbo,” Batz said.

“We further understand that we may not influence the judges, but our community and our country need to remember that we exist and that DACA has been a vital program for me and 750,000 DREAMers in the US. The time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act and an Immigration Reform package is now more critical than ever seeing that this case will make it to the Supreme Court and given that court’s makeup we fear they may side with Trump " Cesar Espinosa, FIEL Executive Director, stated in a news release.

Norman said DACA and immigration isn’t just a Latino issue.

“One out of 70 Korean Americans are undocumented immigrants here. This is not Latino issue, Asian issue, but this is national issues,” she said.

The groups plan to return to Houston Wednesday night.

While the federal court will hear the argument Wednesday, it’s not clear when they will issue a ruling.

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