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Ohio "DREAMers" Face Uncertain Futures

There are an estimated 4,400 DACA recipients studying or working in Ohio. (Progress Ohio/Flickr)
There are an estimated 4,400 DACA recipients studying or working in Ohio. (Progress Ohio/Flickr)
September 6, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The future is uncertain for many Ohio DREAMers as the Trump administration is rescinding DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The White House announced on Tuesday what it terms a "wind-down" of DACA, which has offered work permits and other legal protections for almost 800,000 young immigrants, 4,400 of whom live in Ohio.

They include Jose Cabrera, Immigration Program coordinator for the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati.

"We knew this was coming, but it doesn't mean we're done,” he states. “We're going to keep fighting. There's a new DREAM Act introduced in the Senate and also in the House of 'Reps.' So, we're going to work to pressure our congressmen and get that legislation passed."

The new bill, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, of 2017, would create a pathway to citizenship for those eligible for DACA. The White House criticized President Barack Obama for using executive authority to create the program and encouraged Congress to develop a legislative solution.

According to the Center for American Progress, Ohio would lose $250 billion in Gross Domestic Product if the state's current DACA workers were removed. Cabrera says the business community understands the value of the program.

"So many business leaders have sent letters to Trump urging him to keep DACA, because they know the talents that DACA students have, and they want those talents,” Cabrera points out. “A lot of these DACA students, we grew up here, we were raised here – so that's American talent."

Administration leaders noted all existing DACA work permits will be honored until their expiration up to two years from now. And permits will be renewed for those whose status expires in the next six months.

This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded by the George Gund Foundation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH