LAS VEGAS - Nevada has the 14th highest number of DACA recipients. Almost 25,000 so-called dreamers are at risk of losing their job permits in Nevada. Local advocates are gathering on the Las Vegas strip Tuesday night. Many are gathering at the Culinary Union's offices to talk about the uncertain future of DACA.
Erika Castro was born in a small town just outside Mexico City. Castro says, "I know I've seen pictures and I've looked at it on Google and stuff, but I don't really remember anything." Castro was three years old when her parents brought her to the United States. After living as an undocumented immigrant her entire childhood, she applied for deferred action for childhood arrivals in 2012. It's also known DACA.
Castro says, "almost like being able to take a deep breath. I don't have to like watch over my shoulder anymore. Castro says she no longer feels at ease knowing the program could come to an end in a matter of weeks. Castro says, "I'm not fully surprised." Castro says she is not surprised because the same Texas Attorney General giving US Attorney General Jeff Sessions an ultimatum, is the same AG that lead the effort to stop a similar program for undocumented parents of US born children called DAPA.
In a letter, the Texas AG is threatening to challenge the legality of DACA if the program is not ended by September 5. Nevada Senator Dean Heller says, "I think the White House is gonna have to make some movement before the first or next month so that we can help these individuals."
Senator Heller was among more than a dozen Republicans who voted in favor of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013. The bi-partisan proposed legislation was shut down in the US House of Representatives. A new wave of proposals are making their way through Congress. Senator Heller says, "I'm a supporter of the Bridge Act which helps support the reauthorization of DACA." The Bridge Act, as well as the Dream Act, have some bi-partisan support.
Nevada Congressman Ruben Kihuen is the co-sponsor of the American Hope Act, which has similar intentions. Rep. Kihuen says, "for me, it hits home because I used to be a dreamer myself you know. My family came here when I was 8 years old."
Over the next few days, advocacy groups and dreamers from across the country are meeting in Las Vegas to brainstorm ideas on what to do next if DACA does come to an end.
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