Colorado Springs ‘Dreamers’ anxiously await Trump’s announcement next week
Author: Erin Prater - September 2, 2017 - Updated: September 2, 2017
President Donald Trump’s plan to announce on Tuesday whether “Dreamers” can remain in the country left some in Colorado Springs fearful they could go from being college students and small business owners to facing deportation with a tweet.
“People are incredibly concerned and are feeling very nervous,” said Eric Pavri, a Catholic Charities of Central Colorado immigration attorney. “Because they have no way to predict what their future might hold right now.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was created under former President Barack Obama to grant work permits for young adults – typically people ages 15 to 35 – who were brought into the country illegally as young children.
Trump said he would announce his decision Tuesday – leaving nearly 800,000 people nationwide waiting four days to learn their fate.
With their clients’ legal status at risk, Colorado Springs immigration attorneys urged Trump to continue the program.
“These are the type of young people whose clean records, education and youth make them potential productive members of our community and economy,” Pavri said. “It seems like a real shame for Colorado Springs to lose out on that.”
He called ending the program a “moral tragedy” that would punish young professionals for decisions their parents made while they were toddlers or young children.
The exact number of people in the DACA program in Colorado Springs is unclear.
Since mid-2012, Pavri’s office has helped nearly 500 people enroll in it, and he estimated the community’s overall figure at more than 2,000 people.
They mostly came from across Mexico and Central America, and they have used the program – and the Social Security number it affords – to attend college, get well-paying jobs and run their own companies, said Stephanie Izaguirre, a Colorado Springs and Pueblo immigration attorney. In the process, they have received car loans, taken on student debt and obtained mortgages.
On Friday, she and Pavri urged clients whose status in the program is expiring to immediately file their applications.
At worst, they would lose their $495 application fee, Pavri said. At best, they would get another two years to remain in the U.S., should Trump decide to allow people already in the program to carry out the rest of their terms.
He also urged people not already in the program to avoid joining, because doing so would give the federal government access to a wealth of personal information.
For most people, however, the options were far more limited.
“Legally, all they can do is wait and see,” Izaguirre said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.