Local 'Dreamer' reacts to end of DACA: 'It's scary'

More than 3,000 Dreamers live in Idaho.

BOISE - President Trump has announced the end of a program that protects certain young immigrants from being deported.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in 2012.

The program allows minors who were brought into the U.S. illegally before 2007 to obtain a driver's license and work permit.

Idaho's governor and the state's attorney general are both in support of President Trump's announcement, but are calling on Congress to come up with a permanent solution to replace DACA.

Currently there are 800,000 DACA applicants, or "Dreamers" as they are often referred to in the U.S. More than 3,000 live in Idaho.

Rixa Rivera-Sandoval was brought to the U.S. illegally when she was just one-and-a-half years old, and has been living in Idaho for the past eight.

She remembers what life was like before DACA existed.

“Within our community we were warned ICE is in town, and so there was a time when I was taken out of school for a week-and-a-half because there was just that fear, my parents were not shopping and bought groceries enough for two weeks not to leave the house,” Rivera-Sandoval recalls.

Becoming a DACA applicant at the age of 15 took away some of Rixa's fear that she lived with every day.

“You have a driver's license because of DACA, you can legally work, you're fine,” Rivera-Sandoval said.

And now hearing that her protection could be taken away, Rixa fears for the worst.

“It's scary, you're getting taken away from your family, the only people I know live in the states,” Rivera-Sandoval said.

Rixa feels everything she has worked so hard for could be for nothing.

“I had to work twice as hard to achieve the standard goal that other students had, and throughout high school I was a 4.0 student, at one point I was triple sporting with a job on the weekends,” said Rivera-Sandoval.

"Today's announcement is just heartbreaking and devastating for the thousands of aspiring Americans who call this country home. We hope that Congress now takes up this issue and resolves it once and for all and brings about permanancy to the lives of immigrant youth in this country,” said Leo Morales, Director of Idaho’s ACLU chapter.

While Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden supported the president’s announcement, they to hope Congress works toward a permanent solution to take DACA’s place.

"I appreciate the attorney general's recognition of the constitutional problems with the Obama administration's executive action. I also support the Department of Homeland Security's decision to phase out the DACA program in a way that will minimize the impact on current DACA beneficiaries. In the meantime, I call on Congress to redouble its efforts to restore the effectiveness of and public confidence in our nation's immigration system," said Gov. Otter in a statement.

Attorney General Wasden issued this response:

"I've long held that DACA was created through an unconstitutional executive order because – under the Constitution - the responsibility of creating immigration policy falls squarely on Congress. However, the root of this entire issue is Congress's failure to pass a law that takes into account the needs of everyday families, especially those families whose ties cross international borders. This announcement from the administration paves the way for our federal lawmakers to finally step up and deal with this very important issue once and for all.

"Also, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo today outlining the path forward for DACA and placing the responsibility with Congress. I encourage those interested in this issue to review it.”

Rixa hopes the solution involves a pathway to citizenship.

“Give us a chance to apply for that, give us a pathway," she said. "How are we supposed to contribute to your economy if you aren't allowing us?”

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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