Dreamers remain hopeful after court rules immigrant DACA program illegal

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 23:26:26-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — A court ruling is stopping the federal government from allowing new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program requests.

The program allows those who came to the United States illegally as children to live and work without the fear of deportation.

"You're in a constant limbo, you don't know what's gonna happen, you're like, I'm trying to live a normal life but you can't really because at the snap of a finger you know you're here and then you're gone, said Nathalia Castro, who left Honduras when she was just 3 years old. The United States is the only country she's ever known.

Castro applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this year. It provides protection from deportation and work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.

But a court ruling has shadowed her future.

"I'm frozen, I'm frozen, so I'm now a senior in college, I go to Sewanee and it's been a real blessing," said Castro. "When DACA was reinstated, I had all, you know, I had envisioned myself becoming a teacher and like helping out with the shortage, but now knowing that I won't be able to do that has been very difficult. It's jeopardizing my future and it's not just mine but many others."

A federal judge in Texas directed the Biden Administration to stop granting new DACA requests, calling the program illegal.

It impacts up to 300,000 immigrant teenagers and young adults living in the U.S.

"Tennessee has been my home; I've come here when I was just 8 years old, back in 1997, said Cesar Bautista.

Bautista went from graduating college and becoming a medical assistant to now helping youth at The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

"I have a family now also; so, I have my daughter that I take care of and through DACA, I've been able to provide her with a much better quality of life," Bautista said.

As of late June, CBS News reported at least 81,000 immigrants had pending first-time DACA requests, which the government is now barred from approving.

Mayor John Cooper joined other mayors by sending a letter to the Biden Administration asking for a clear path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants across the country.

They're asking for a more permanent solution.

CBS News reports the Biden administration has pledged to appeal this month's court order and to publish a rule that would codify DACA into a regulatory policy, but it hasn't given any timeframe for these actions.