What Will End Of DACA Mean For Thousand Of WI "Dreamers?" | Wisconsin Public Television

What Will End Of DACA Mean For Thousand Of WI "Dreamers?"

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Premiere Date: 
September 8, 2017

What Will End Of DACA Mean For Thousand Of WI "Dreamers?"

The announced end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will affect thousands in Wisconsin. We speak with Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, on who these young Wisconsinites are and what may be next in their future.

Episode Transcript

Frederica Freyberg:

The Trump Administration announced this week that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will end in six months. Recipients of DACA, often referred to as "dreamers" whose permits expire within the next six months have until October 5 to apply for renewal. But those whose permits run out after the March deadline will see their permits expire unless Congress acts. President Trump said late this week that "dreamers" should not worry about being deported before the six months is up. In tonight's look ahead, we go to Christine Neumann-Ortiz. She's executive director of the immigrant rights organization Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee. Thanks very much for being here.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz:

Thank you so much for the invitation.

Frederica Freyberg:

Do the president's assurances calm the fears of people in this country who arrived as children, the "dreamers"?

Christine Neumann-Ortiz:

Absolutely not. We've seen that despite his claims that he's going to prioritize enforcement, the reality is is that with his initial repeal of the executive orders, everyone is a target. We've actually seen that play out. And with this latest repeal of protections for these young immigrants, it really is -- it's a reality check that he is very sincere with his plans of implementing very discriminatory, mass deportation program.

Frederica Freyberg:

How many so-called "dreamers" are affected in Wisconsin?

Christine Neumann-Ortiz:

Close to 8,000. And we're a very young state. I mean, many of the -- it's very much, as it is nationally, mixed immigration status families.

Frederica Freyberg:

And so describe for me what these so-called "dreamers" are thinking right now.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz:

There’s obviously a lot of -- there is fear. There is fear because they recognize that these protections have been taken away from them. That their ability to legally work, to legally drive, to be a source of support for their families, that that is gone. That that will be gone unless we fight. And this is an opportunity, a galvanizing opportunity for those DACA youth, as they have been doing, to really step forward. And those around them, their family members, their priests, the pastors, their neighbors, their family friends to really stand with them and send a very strong message. One, to U.S. Speaker of the House Ryan that we want him to sponsor a bill that will make DACA permanent with a path to citizenship and a clean bill. And then secondly, to really send a message that the community -- these are folks that are part of our community and we're going to stand strong as a community against the efforts to separate families.

Frederica Freyberg:

Who are these "dreamers"? Describe who they are for us.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz:

Well, one person that comes to mind is one of the "dreamers" that just did a hunger strike in front of Paul Ryan’s office from September 1 to September 5, Valeria, who -- excuse me, Fernanda, who came here. Valeria Luis is another one from his district. Both Valeria and Fernanda are from his district. They both came to the United States as very young age. Their parents were from Mexico. In the case of Valeria, it was a very dangerous process. She was separated for a period of time from her father. And she herself, you know, gives in her testimony, has talked about how hard it was because she didn't even as a young girl in the process of separation, didn't initially recognize her mom. They are united. They are living here. And she very much, like all of them, believe that their parents are the original "dreamers." And they're fighting not just for themselves, but their families.

Frederica Freyberg:

Unfortunately we need to leave it there. But clearly we will all be watching this as the days, weeks and months go on. Christine Neumann-Ortiz. Thanks very much.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz:

Thank you.

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