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Local residents watching Supreme Court DACA decision
Immigration debate

Local residents watching Supreme Court DACA decision

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RACINE — Leslie Rivera, 16, feels scared for her sister and her family.

“It can affect all of us,” Rivera said. “It can only go really good or really bad. Which one is it going to be?”

Rivera is referring to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on President Donald Trump administration’s challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program starting on Nov. 12.

Rivera, a U.S. citizen, worries that if DACA is struck down, it could be doom for her sister Perla, a DACA recipient at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and her parents.

“She gave all of her information to the government,” Rivera said about her sister applying for DACA. “Assuming (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) gets that information, not only will they find my sister, they will find my parents.”

Rivera is one of many Racine-area residents keeping an eye on the Supreme Court as it decides the fate of the program.

In 2012, then-President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing DACA, protecting those who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

On Nov. 12, Rivera and others plan to take a bus to Milwaukee and march to the federal building.

Tania Chavez, a senior at Horlick High School, just received her DACA status last year.

“It did change my life in a way,” Chavez said. “Because now I have my whole life planned out … if they take it away, then my plan changes.”

Simple things like getting a driver’s license became a game changer for Chavez.

“Now you can drive legally and not only that, you drive your parents around too without them being scared of being pulled over,” Chavez said.

Setting the record straight

While critics of the program have said it is unlawful for a president to unilaterally make laws without Congress, there have been inaccurate rumors as to what DACA recipients can or cannot receive.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as part of attaining the status, individuals applying for DACA need to provide their name, contact information including address, date of birth, school they are attending or have graduated from, employment and financial information.

It also costs $495 to file an application, not including lawyer’s fees.

Those protected under DACA are not eligible for federal benefits, Social Security or student aid.

Day-to-day fear

Racine resident Ania Jimenez has been going to Gateway Technical College to study criminal justice. Jimenez said DACA is crucial to her education.

“If they take that away, I might not be able to finish,” Jimenez said.

The Supreme Court plans to release its decision on DACA sometime in the spring but, in the meantime, Jimenez is preparing for the worst, saying “you live with that fear every day.”

Josue Alonso, another Racine resident and DACA recipient, is confident the Supreme Court will allow DACA to stay.

“Our families are praying,” Alonso said. “We believe that ethically this is the right choice for us to belong, because this is the only home that we know.”

Alonso is not satisfied with simply being protected from deportation and being allowed to have a driver’s license.

“We deserve more than a permanent preserved action,” Alonso said. “We deserve citizenship because of everything we’ve built here.”

“Our families are praying. We believe that ethically this is the right choice for us to belong because this is the only home that we know.” Josue Alonso, DACA recipient and Racine resident

“Our families are praying. We believe that ethically this is the right choice for us to belong because this is the only home that we know.”

Josue Alonso, DACA recipient and Racine resident

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Reporter

Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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