New Jersey’s DACA recipients say they’re living in uncertainty

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Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program who live in New Jersey say that they are living in uncertainty while the Trump administration makes decisions on the future of the program.

President Donald Trump said that he wants to sign a “bill of love” on immigration reform but that he wants a bill that will also secure the United States border.

Middlesex County College student and DACA recipient Alma Benevides says that she is worried about her future. Her DACA status is only renewed until 2019.

“As the president stated that they want to do a bill with love, we really hope that it comes with love,” she says.

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Benevides says that she is also worried about her parents’ status. The Trump administration announced that more than 20,000 Salvadorans who live in the U.S. legally under temporary protected status must leave the country. Her parents have been in the United States for 17 years.

“Where would they go?” she asks. “Are they going to leave us here? Who’s going to take care of my little brother?”

DACA recipients received a legal victory Tuesday when a federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s plans to end the program. The judge found that DACA must be allowed to continue nationally while a legal challenge progresses. This means that recipients can renew their protections for now. 

Advocates at Make The Road New Jersey have been pushing lawmakers to come to an agreement on the program.

“It’s really hard preparing for your future when you can’t make long-term decisions,” says recipient Sara Mora.

Democrats have insisted that a solution be included in the spending bill, which must be passed by Jan. 19 to avoid a government shutdown. President Trump said this week that he was open to signing an immigration deal.

“We want to see something happen with DACA. It's been spoken of for years. And children are now adults in many cases,” he said.

About 22,000 DACA recipients live in New Jersey.

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