The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This is an immigration policy that was passed during the Obama administration. About 800,000 young undocumented immigrants utilized it.
Under President Donald Trump’s administration, Sessions said the plan is to wind down DACA in the next six months.
Immigration advocate Erika Lucas said this could negatively impact the workforce. She said, “They’re Americans in every sense of the word. We have some DACA applicants that aren’t only in the workforce or in higher education, but they are also serving in the military.”
Senator James Lankford released a statement, “It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally. However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parent. In the coming months, Congress must address this issue."
An Oklahoma young lady spoke out, concerned about this decision. Maribel Hernandez is a 20-year-old undocumented immigrant. Her mother crossed the border with her when she was 2 years old.
“I adopted the American culture. It’s the only country that I know, that I’ve grown to know, and grown to love,” she said.
She is a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma studying political science. Hernandez also works two jobs to support herself in school. As an undocumented immigrant, she said DACA gave her the ability to legally work, drive a car, and expand her potential.
Hernandez hopes the announcement made by Sessions will be reality check for people to make a more permanent change. She said she’s always known that DACA is only temporary.
“There is still a six-month delay on DACA, so we have plenty of time to fight back and stop it. If DACA is to end, hopefully implement something that is much better than DACA that will help out the broken immigration system.”
Hernandez said her parents gave up everything to give their children the American Dream. She said she is not only a dreamer, but also a doer. She plans to stay in America and fight for other immigrants.
DACA impacts 6,900 young people in Oklahoma.