Originally posted: September 6, 2017
Jose Santoyo, an SMU Human Rights alumnus, is quoted in this article.
WASHINGTON – The ball is now in Congress’ court for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals or DACA. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration plans to end the Obama era program. It protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation and provides them with social security numbers so they can go to school and work.
The administration is giving Congress six months to pass a legislative fix before they stop renewing permits.
Thousands of DACA recipients, like Jose Santoyo, are counting on Congress to meet that deadline because their futures are now uncertain.
“In social spaces, you always made to feel you belong,” Santoyo told CBN News.
“But its whenever it came to applying for jobs, or scholarships, that you realize you will not be eligible because they require social security numbers you didn’t have,” he also said.
When Jose neared high school graduation and thought about college, his mother told him he was an undocumented immigrant.
“Even though I was about to take the ACT and the SAT like my friends were, she told me I wouldn’t be able to go to college because I didn’t have a social security number.”
But, Jose could attend a Texas community college after a church provided him with a scholarship. When DACA took effect, he transferred to Southern Methodist University.
Even though his future has been uncertain, Jose has always had another big concern: Who will take care of his younger brother, a full U.S. citizen with cerebral palsy, if their undocumented mother is deported?
“He’s dependent on my mother for everything, he’s in a wheelchair, he’s unable to walk, he doesn’t speak, he’s not able to do anything on his own,” Santoyo explained.
Jose says his mother fled Mexico with her sons in 2001 because of the drug cartels. She applied for U.S. citizenship, but due to a paperwork backlog, it could be years before her case is considered.
“I think for a lot of DACA recipients we all have parents that made sacrifices so we could be DACA recipients, and they too should be considered, their lives should also be as worthy as ours for being in this country,” Santoyo said.
President DonaldTrump, who has said he will handle the dreamers with heart, is now counting on Congress to address the situation.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., hope their bipartisan Dream Act can provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
“If you worry about these kids, you should vote for the Dream Act because I think it gives them what they deserve, a new life in their home country,” Senator Graham explained.
“Make the case that these kids don’t belong here because I will make the case they do,” Graham also said.
Senator Durbin has been fighting for the Dreamers for 16 years and he hopes that with support from both sides, it will pass this September.
“It is time for us in Congress to do the right thing for America and the right thing for these young people and their families and pass the dream act to make it the law of the land and do it now!” Durbin said.
In the House, GOP Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida introduced similar legislation known as The Recognizing America’s Children Act. Curbelo says his bill gained a lot of momentum this week after news broke DACA will end in six months.
“I think this announcement, even though I would have done it a little differently, is giving us the impetus, urgency in Congress to find a fair solution for them,” Curbelo said.
Representatives and senators on both sides of the aisle are hopeful that by the end of this six-month deadline they will agree on a more permanent legislative solution for the dreamers that President Trump will sign into law. READ MORE