DREAM Act and DACA recipient fears deportation under President Donald Trump
A New Jersey college student who was a recipient of the DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) says that he is fearful that he won't be able to graduation and will instead be deported back to Mexico.
Li Adorno came to the United States with his parents when he was 7 years old. He says that his entire life was molded by American experiences.
"I was in second grade. I saw planes that hit the World Trade. Those are events that affect you and you feel attached to the country," he says.
He was able to go to St. Peter's University and have a job under the DREAM Act and DACA. He is a senior at the university and says that he wants to work in the mental health field for impoverished minorities.
But after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration that paves the way to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Adorno says that he is scared he will be sent back.
"It feels like they don't respect me as a person. I don't have dignity," he says.
Trump said during his campaign that he would repeal DACA, but recently changed his rhetoric and says that they may be a new policy recording the DREAM Act.
"I certainly hope that the president doesn't touch [the DREAMers] because I think there will really be enormous movement in the country if he does," says Sen. Bob Menendez.
The senator also spoke out against Trump's recent plans for the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump has proposed a 20 percent tariff for Mexico in order to pay for the wall he wants to build. Menendez say as far as he is concerned, that idea is "dead on arrival."
"This is one of the worst ideas I've heard in the incipiency of a new administration that only creates a major diplomatic and trade challenge with one of the most significant front door neighbors we have in the western hemisphere," he says.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto recently canceled a trip to Washington to meet with Trump after Trump announced his plans for the wall and plans to have Mexico pay for it. The two presidents reportedly spoke by phone Friday, according to the White House.
Adorno says that even if he is allowed to stay, he won't send his parents back to Mexico alone if they are deported.
"My parents dreamed of a country that I feel like doesn't really exist anymore," he says.
About 750,000 immigrants were granted work permits and temporary residency under the DACA program.