YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Students and professors gathered around the rock at Youngstown State University’s campus Thursday evening, talking about the DACA program currently under fire by President Donald Trump
Hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants face deportation if Trump follows through with his threat to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Reports say the President is moving toward making a deal with Democrats on DACA as he works to secure the nation’s border.
Talk around the rock was of the opportunities DACA gives immigrants who were brought over to the U.S. illegally by their parents, otherwise known as “Dreamers.” Among those in attendance was Linh Tran — a YSU freshman, Boardman native and daughter of an immigrant.
“I honestly could not even deal with what these kids would have to deal with if DACA and all their rights are taken away,” Tran said.
DACA protects nearly 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation. The Trump administration formally announced the end of DACA last week.
“I’m also a second-generation student, I guess you could say,” Tran said. “My family is originally from Vietnam. But I’m very fortunate because my mother is an American citizen now, so I’m an American citizen.”
Even Youngstown’s mayor showed up to talk about the impact young immigrants have on the Valley.
“They got to make sure they get out and call their representatives, call their senators and make their opinions known,” Mayor John McNally said. “Call their Washington offices and not take anything for granted.”
The government will continue renewing permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months. This gives Congress time to act before any currently-protected individuals lose their ability to work, study and live without fear in the US.
“What I can tell you about these kids, it’s not only that they’re brilliant people that work really, really hard,” said Alicia Prieto Langarica, associate professor of the math and stats department, “it’s that these kids were given the basic opportunity to just get a job and go to school. That is the only thing that they were given. The opportunity to go to school and get a job. And they are thriving.”
As of Thursday, it is looking more hopeful that they may be able to stay.
“Don’t take that away,” Prieto Langarica. “Because many of them don’t speak Spanish. Many of them are going to go back to a country they don’t know — they’ve never been to.”