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DACA Recipients Rally in Salem to Protect Status

There are nearly 800,000 DACA recipients across the country. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
There are nearly 800,000 DACA recipients across the country. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
August 14, 2017

SALEM, Ore. -- Undocumented immigrants living on the West Coast who were brought here as children are in Salem today to defend their legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Attorneys general from ten states plan to file a lawsuit against DACA on September 5, and the Trump administration has still not decided whether it will defend the program. That puts nearly 800,000 young people on edge - including Zaira Flores, coordinator of the Oregon DACA Coalition. She said DACA recipients are eager to share their stories.

"My life just has completely changed around,” Flores said. "I went from being a college kid with really little money and no hope, to being a full-time worker with a family, and giving ourselves, like, a roof over our table."

DACA status allows recipients to apply for immigration-enforcement deferrals every two years, so they can live, study and work in the U.S., as long as they meet certain criteria and don't commit any crimes.

President Donald Trump had campaigned against DACA, but most recently has defended the program.

DACA supporters will rally in Salem again on Tuesday, August 15. The date is symbolic: it's when applications were first accepted five years ago, when Obama administration put the program in place.

Flores, who has been in Oregon since she was six, said she's built a life here that would be very hard to leave.

"Not being able to be here is heartbreaking, because being an American is not just paperwork. Being an American is more than that,” she said.

Monday's rally starts in the State Capitol State Park at 6:30 p.m. The DACA Community Forum on Tuesday is begins at 5:30 p.m. at Chemeketa Community College.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR