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Texas DACA Recipients Welcome Supreme Court Decision But Want A Permanent Solution

The Harris County Republican Party thinks “the situation will be resolved only when Congress can work together and find a solution”

César Espinosa (right), founder and executive director of FIEL Houston, supports that DACA recipients continue applying to renew their permits, both the one that grants them the DACA recipient status, as well as the one that authorizes them to work legally in the United States.

DACA recipients from Texas reacted positively on Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to take a case that could have meant the definitive termination of the program, but noted what they really want is a permanent solution for the uncertain situation of so-called ‘dreamers’ in the form of legislation, an idea they have repeated for months, particularly since President Donald Trump announced back in September that his Administration would end the Obama-era program.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and is a program former President Barack Obama created in 2012.

Julieta Garibay, Texas director and co-founder at United We Dream (UWD), expressed her satisfaction with the Supreme Court’s decision in an emailed statement in the sense it “allows immigrant youth who have had DACA or currently have DACA status that is expiring more time to renew.”

However, while noting the decision “is a relief for some in our community,” Garibay’s statement added that “it is not the permanent solution that we fighting for and that immigrant youth deserve.”

Óscar Hernández, a member of UWD who lives in Houston and who is a DACA recipient, agreed with Garibay.

“I know that our community needs a permanent solution for this situation. So, knowing that DACA is available, it makes me happy that those of us who have it can continue to renew,” said Hernández, but he added: “I also know that there is hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have not been able to apply who would benefit from it and who cannot apply for the first time now. So, it’s still very concerning about what’s gonna happen to the rest of the community.”

Hernández was actually a little bit skeptic about to what extent the Supreme Court decision is fully beneficial for the so-called ‘dreamers’. “I don’t know how this is going to affect us moving forward because there is an urgency for there to be a permanent solution to DACA and if they’re gonna continue the process with DACA that might also cause like a bump for us, our fight for this permanent solution, because the [Trump] Administration, like many other people, many Democrats and Republicans, can hide behind “Well, DACA is still available, so why should we solve this problem?” I mean, that’s one of the concerns that I’ve had.”

Asked about whether he thinks it is a good idea for DACA recipients to continue applying for renewals of their work permits, Hernández said he thinks it is, among other reasons because the government already has their information inasmuch they had to submit it when they sent their original applications.

César Espinosa, founder and executive director of Houston-based Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle (popularly known as FIEL, by its acronym in Spanish), a group that advocates for a comprehensive immigration reform, agreed with Hernández in the sense DACA recipients should continue trying to renew their work permits –pertaining to both the DACA recipient status and to be authorized to work legally in the United States–, among other reasons, because he doesn’t think immigration authorities would use the personal information they have about DACA recipients to detain them.

“One of the things that had been flying around prior to the decisions made by the courts was that our information was gonna be used to track us down and, up and to this point, we have not seen that,” noted Espinosa, who is a DACA recipient himself, who added that “at the end of the day immigration, USCIS, already has our information.”

Espinosa agreed with Hernández in the sense that what his organization wants is a permanent solution.

“We can’t be relying on what the court says or we can’t be relying on more, more executive orders. We need something permanent that we can rely on so that we can continue to plan our lives on the long term,” stressed the activist, who nevertheless also made clear that FIEL would not be satisfied with legislation that only took care of DACA recipients because their term goal is a comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a relief to a bigger segment of the undocumented community.

In the meantime and regardless of the fact DACA is in a legal limbo, the White House still thinks Congress can do something about the program before the theoretical March 5th deadline the Trump Administration had established.

“Absolutely he’s encouraging them to get something done,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said during her Tuesday press briefing referring to members of Congress. “We’re still hopeful that something happens on this and Congress will actually do its job,” she added.

The Harris County Republican Party has the same opinion as the White House.

Vlad Davidiuk, the party’s communications director in the county, said they felt “disappointed that the [Supreme] Court decided to continue holding dreamers in limbo with DACA status,” but added they believe that “the intention and feeling of the [Supreme] Court was to give members of Congress time to work together and find a solution to give ‘dreamers’ an opportunity to emerge from the shadows in which they were left by President Obama’s failed policy.”

“The situation will be resolved only when Congress can work together and find a solution, rather than relying on court orders or unlawful executive orders,” emphasized Davidiuk, who specified that –at the county level— the party’s opinion on DACA is that it was “a well-intentioned solution that was done in an ill-proposed way by the previous Administration.”

Houston Public Media reached out to the Houston-based group Texans for Immigration Reduction and Enforcement, but, at the time of publication of this news report, they had not responded to a request for comment.

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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