Local DACA recipients react to Supreme Court blocking Trump from ending program

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Local Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are reacting to the Supreme Court blocking President Donald Trump from ending the federal program.

"This is a great win out of a big battle but it is not a solution because it still doesn't give us a pathway to citizenship. It is just a work permit and it protects us from getting deported but that is it and we need something permanent," said DACA recipient, Karla Rojas.

While DACA recipients are rejoicing, they say more work needs to be done in terms of comprehensive immigration reform.

"There are millions of people in our country that are not eligible for DACA that are still in need of dire relief, and like Karla said, this is home for our community and that is not going go change whether or not we get a piece of paper," said Erika Guadalupe Nunez, executive director of Juntos.

DACA recipients must renew their status every two years and while they consider the Supreme Court ruling a safety net, they say until there is a permanent solution, there will always be a feeling of uncertainty.

"We deserve to live our lives in more than two-year increments, I think so as a human," said DACA recipient, Anel Medina.

"This has been my home since 4-years-old and that is all I know. If DACA got taken away I would lose my job. I work at a hospital. I would not be able to go to nursing school," said DACA recipient, Abigail Reyes.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro says the ruling delivers justice.

"These Dreamers go to our schools, they serve in the military, they pay taxes. These are people contributing the fabric of our society and what the president tried to do to them we said two years was wrong and illegal and today the United States Supreme Court affirmed that," said Shapiro.

The so-called Dreamers, who benefit from DACA, know the war is not over. That was made clear by the Supreme Court, which said the Trump administration still has the power to end DACA, but just didn't follow all the legal steps to end it properly the first time around.

"It's two years. Am I going to get approved again, are they going to deny it? What is my future going to look like," said Rojas.

Across this country, the high court's ruling impacts over 700,000 DACA recipients and their families, 6,000 of them are here in Pennsylvania.

In a statement, Philadelphia Mayor Jimmy Kenney says the city will continue fighting for DACA recipients and their families.

"Philadelphia stands with DACA recipients across the country. Over 825,000 young people who have benefitted from the program came here with their parents searching for a better life and more opportunities. DACA recipients came out of the shadows, and many of them are thriving as students and young professionals, contributing to the progress of our cities. They are a vital part of our communities. Today's Supreme Court ruling is a huge victory for Dreamers across the country. In Philadelphia, we respect DACA recipients and all immigrants who choose to call our city home; we love them, and we will continue fighting for them and their families," said Kenney.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released this statement on the Supreme Court's decision:

"The Supreme Court has correctly ruled that the Trump Administration's decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - or DACA - was unlawful. We applaud the Court's ruling to protect the more than 16,000 Dreamers who call New Jersey home, and who are among the more than 800,000 Dreamers across our country who are just as American as any child born here.

As our state continues to face unprecedented challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Dreamers are directly contributing to our communities -- as students, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, employees, job creators, and front line workers. We celebrate their contributions and remain committed to supporting them and their families.

Across the past two years, we have taken significant steps to empower our immigrant communities and ensure their place in a stronger, fairer and more inclusive New Jersey. We have removed barriers to financial aid that held Dreamers back from pursuing a higher education, and we are working on implementing driver's licenses for all residents regardless of immigration status. Through our Office of New Americans in the New Jersey Department of Human Services, we will continue providing information and resources to Dreamers and their families regarding DACA renewals and work permits, among other services.

With this ruling, and especially during this public health emergency, we call on our federal partners in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to extend DACA renewals and work permits. And, we call on the Trump Administration to open up the process to accept new DACA applications, and we urge Congress to work together on a permanent solution and a path to citizenship for all Dreamers and their families.

I am proud of the work of Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, and his team, in leading New Jersey's efforts in support of this successful outcome.

Our Dreamers are a strong part of our New Jersey family, and today's decision will help ensure that they can be part of the next generation of Americans who will lead our state and our nation."
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