HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A federal judge’s decision regarding immigration is being celebrated by many people all across the country including here in Houston.
Thousands have been protected by the immigration program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Then they lost that protection after the decision to do away with DACA. Now those folks tell me they are elated at the U.S. district judge’s ruling that puts the brakes on ending DACA.
Normally at this time, Damaris Gonzalez would be at work but she doesn’t have a job since her work permit expired in September and she can't renew because of the Trump Administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
"My benefits were taken away. I don’t have a driver’s license. I can not look tor another job. It kind of put ties around my hands," explains Gonzalez who feels those ties have been loosened since a federal judge ruled DACA can’t yet be canceled.
"It makes me happy because it’s a victory. It’s a small victory," Gonzalez says.
The now 32-year-old arrived in the U.S. with her mom when she was nine. Gonzalez and hundreds of thousands of others are protected by DACA, which went into effect in 2012 in the Obama Era. The program protects kids who were brought to this country illegally, from deportation.
Now the judge’s recent ruling blocks the Department of Justice from dropping DACA, pending court cases fighting to keep the safeguards in place.
"I’m in my first year at Harvard studying government," explains Karla Chavez. While Chavez’s peers at Harvard University focus on their studies, deportation is instead in the forefront of her thoughts. She arrived in America from Mexico when she was six.
"It sounds ridiculous to think I could be sent back to a country that I have no recollection of ever being part of," Chavez explains.
"When DACA became effective it was like a whole different light. I saw life in a different perspective. (Because you didn’t have to be afraid of deportation?) Exactly. I could go outside. I could travel and do things that normal people do," says Gonzalez.
The Trump Administration is calling the judge’s decision “outrageous” and says this is a matter for Congress to decide.
Houston FIEL, by the way, wants to remind immigrants the Department of Homeland Security still isn’t renewing work permits. So the group is sending out a warning to be leary of attorneys asking for money and making promises of renewed permits.