Miami Valley immigrant advocates are calling on the Trump administration to continue a program that allows young people brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the country.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, permits about 800,000 people to temporarily work, attend school or serve in the military under certain conditions.
President Donald Trump is expected to issue a decision soon on whether to continue with the Obama-era program.
Alicia Pagan, president of the Dayton League of United Latin American Citizens, says ending DACA could lead to the deportation of young people who have little or no connection to their parents’ home countries.
“English is their first language. The U.S. Constitution is their first consciousness about government. These children - they had no say-so in moving to the United States. They are here and now they are our own and we should be protecting them,” she says.
Pagan says many people living in the Miami Valley under DACA protections will likely flee abruptly from school or work to avoid deportation if the program is dismantled.
A group of GOP lawmakers has threatened a lawsuit over DACA’s constitutionality if the president doesn't act to cut the program by Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Meanwhile Friday, another group of Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin and Sen. Orrin Hatch from Utah, are lobbying Trump to preserve the program.