TULSA, Okla — DACA, the Deferred Action and Childhood Arrivals Program, allowed thousands of children brought to the U.S. illegally to get an education and jobs.
It also protected against deportation, but Friday a federal judge said President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program in 2012. Director of the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network, Robin Sherman, said the ruling crushed the hope of an American dream for many DACA applicants.
Cynthia Trejo is a DACA recipient who has lived in Tulsa for 25 years. She was brought to this country when she was just 3-years-old and is one of the thousands of DACA immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally.
“I was able to graduate high school, I was able to get my bachelor’s degree, I’m currently a teacher so that is what my mom wanted a more secure and stable life for both of us,” Trejo said. She stays in this country legally by renewing her DACA status every two years.
Sherman said the ruling brings uncertainty for those who want to apply to the program.
"We may be able to submit initial applications, but from the ruling, it’s clear that there won’t be any approvals until again it’s challenged up to the 5th Circuit or Congress acts,” Sherman said.
Sherman said President Trump's administration tried to undo the DACA program, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 the administration did not end the program properly, keeping it alive. As of last December, DACA applications were again taking place, but renewals never stopped.
Sherman said the new ruling halts the approval of applications for people who were in the process of becoming DACA recipients, causing even more uncertainty for their future.
"They can't have any hopes for what could have happened like I had hopes," Trejo said.
Sherman said Congress needs to act to provide a more permanent solution. Nine states, including Texas, went to court in the hopes of ending DACA, claiming it is a drain on educational and healthcare resources.
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