DACA Program's Future Uncertain As New Adminstration Prepares To Take Office

Posted at 7:43 PM, Dec 08, 2016

They're known as the Dreamers, undocumented residents who, under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, are working and learning legally in the U.S.

Berenice Oliva is a freshman at Trevecca Nazarene University, she's studying to become nurse. "I moved here when I was 9-years-old," she said. 

With help from the federal government her dreams are on track, at least for now. "If DACA goes away, what am I going to do," Oliva asked. 

President-Elect Donald Trump has made it clear where he stands on illegal immigration. So leaders from across the country including Nashville Mayor Megan Barry have signed a letter to Trump asking him to continue the DACA Program.

"I love this because it really puts legs on something, it's not just saying it but it's saying yes we're standing behind these folks, these students," Lisa Steele said. 

Steele is the assistant dean and director of Intercultural Development at Lipscomb University.  Back in 2008 Lipscomb became one of the first universities to admit undocumented students, four years before the DACA program was implemented. 

"Probably went from about 10 undocumented students to about fifty," Steele said. She said pulling the DACA program would greatly impact cities across the U.S. "These are people we want here, these are folks working to be a part of our community," said Steele. 

Folks like Oliva who wonder what their future may hold. "I'm scared to go out there and not have any documents and be like my mom or our friends who are out there risking their lives every day," she said. 

Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement after signing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's letter to the president-elect. 

"DACA has provided opportunity and hope to millions of young New Americans who simply want the chance to be active members of the country they call home. Children should not be punished for their parents’ actions, and if they want to be productive members of American society, we should give them the ability to do so.” -Mayor Megan Barry