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New Mexicans Rally in Texas as Supreme Court Debates DACA

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It's estimated that in New Mexico, DACA has allowed nearly 7,000 young people to pass background checks in order to live and work legally in the United States. (nmdreamteam.org)
It's estimated that in New Mexico, DACA has allowed nearly 7,000 young people to pass background checks in order to live and work legally in the United States. (nmdreamteam.org)
 By Roz Brown - Producer, Contact
November 13, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The future of a program that protects around 800,000 young immigrants known as "Dreamers" was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, as New Mexico advocates rallied in Texas.

About 50 defenders of DACA took a bus to the State Capitol in Austin to protest outside the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who led the push to end DACA in 2017. When enrolled, DACA gives young adults who were brought to the United States as children the legal ability to live and work without fear of deportation.

Flaviano Graciano, communications director for the New Mexico Dream Team, said his group is determined to help them gain citizenship.

"We strongly believe that the court will uphold the values of the community that they serve and keep DACA alive," he said, "but I can surely tell you that if they don't, these communities are going to continue to organize."

A ruling is expected next spring. Despite Graciano's optimism, observers at the Supreme Court hearing said the conservative majority appeared to side with the Trump administration's efforts to end DACA.

President Donald Trump used his Twitter account Tuesday to claim that many DACA recipients are "hardened criminals" - although applicants aren't accepted into the program if they've committed a serious crime. Graciano said he believes the comments diminish the significance of Dreamers' contributions to the nation's economy.

"His racist and xenophobic rhetoric has one sole purpose, and that's to try to divide our communities," Graciano said. "Him even just having that court case in the Supreme Court says everything about his stance on this issue."

The DACA program was announced in 2012 by President Barack Obama. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said Tuesday that Trump's efforts to end DACA have forced Dreamers "to live every day for the past two years in limbo and fear."

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