Local DACA recipient reflects on what Trump's announcement regarding DACA
BLACKSBURG, Va. (WSET) -- There are about 800 thousand people nationwide in DACA, and Mark Herring, the Attorney General for Virginia, says through 2016, about 20,000 Virginians have been approved for the program.
One of those approved is Juan de la Rosa. He graduated from Virginia Tech in May and has made Blacksburg his home.
But now that the Trump Administration has announced it will end DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, de la Rosa is worried about his future.
"The program, known as DACA, that was effectuated under the Obama Administration, is being rescinded," announced United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
It was announcement de la Rosa had been expecting, but it still left him feeling shocked. "It's really hard for me to think of myself as anything but a Virginian and an American." De la Rosa continued, "It's really hard to have that part of my identity detached from me."
Born in Mexico, he came to Virginia when he was 5 with his parents, who are also undocumented.
To apply for DACA, de la Rosa had to give a lot of personal information. Now, he's worried that might come back to haunt him and his family. He explained, "You actually submit this information with a sort of mutual understanding, or at least it used to be, with a sort of mutual understanding that the information that is provided won't be used for enforcement priorities, but that isn't something that is legally binding."
The President has given Congress 6 months to find a way to help DACA participants, saying, "I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them."
At least some Republicans are determined to find a way to keep DACA participants in America. Republican Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham said, "And here's the good news for America, you should want them to stay. They're great kids. They're working, they're productive. This is a win win and if there was ever a win win in modern times it would be the DREAM Act.."
6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte said, in a statement, "I stand ready to work with the Trump Administration and my colleagues in Congress to address this issue the right way: through reasonable legislation passed by Congress, rather than by executive fiat."
Senator Tim Kaine called the decision heartless, saying on Facebook, "President Trump has made a heartless decision to go back on his word and betray the young DREAMers he said he would treat with "great heart." By ending the DACA program, he is putting hundreds of thousands of young Americans, including more than 12,000 in Virginia, at risk of separation from their families."
Senator Mark Warner had a similar response, on Facebook writing, "We cannot let the Trump Administration’s disgraceful anti-immigrant policies leave nearly 800,000 DREAMers in limbo. Going back on our word threatens their safety, harms our economy and speaks volumes about who we are as a country."
And while he's happy to hear the support, de la Rosa thinks this will be a battle, especially in the House, but it's a battle he's ready and willing to fight for, like the previous generation did for him.
"To even be at the point where we're having this conversation about DACA, it wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the individuals that came before me and sort of put themselves at risk. So I feel like it's my responsibility and the responsiblity of other undocumented folks to do that same thing that individuals 5, 10 years ago did for us," said de la Rosa.