As Immigration Debate Wears on, Minnesota Dreamers Weigh In on DACA

January 14, 2018 11:01 PM

Members of Minnesota's undocumented community came out of the shadows recently to share their stories as lawmakers continue to debate immigration reform.

Ramsey County Libraries in Roseville last week hosted an "Ask a Dreamer" panel.

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RELATED: Federal Agency Returns to Accepting Requests Under DACA

The panelists spoke publicly about their concerns over immigration reform. Some are shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But their status is in limbo.

Last year, the Trump Administration announced the end of DACA, citing an overreach of power by the Obama Administration.

The program allows nearly 700,000 active DACA recipients to stay in the United States. Those in the program call themselves Dreamers, and were brought to the United States illegally as minors.

Lawmakers and President Trump have gone back and forth over legislation that would allow DACA recipients to maintain their legal status.

The president has previously said any immigration deal must include funding for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The president wants to have his cake and eat it too," said Adriana Cerrillo, a community activist. "So we'll give you DACA and we'll give you something if we build this wall."

RELATED: Young immigrants' fate unclear as Congress delays DACA fix

Cerrillo came to the United States when she was a teenager and lived without documents before finally earning her residency.

"I know what it's like to live in fear, to live in the shadows," Cerrillo said.

Cerrillo and other panelists are hopeful real immigration reform will be accomplished, but they want a standalone bill. One panelist said she and other Dreamers should not be used as bargaining chips. 

Said Cerrillo: "I'm very hopeful because our community is taking action and the change comes from us not really the politicians."
 

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Ana Lastra

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