ATLANTA -- Georgia recipients of DACA are trying to figure out what’s next after President Trump rescinded the program allowing them to stay in America legally.
Immigration advocates say the administration decision affects some 47,000 people who moved to the US as children, with their parents who immigrated illegally.
"I came here at the age of ten," said Marie Cruzado Jeanneau, a native of Peru who slipped over the US border with her parents thirteen years ago. Since then, she has graduated from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and, she says, become an American at heart.
"I’m going to have to again hide from the person who I’ve become today. Because of fear – fear of deportation or fear of just knowing I won’t have any kind of legal status here," she said Tuesday.
Though DACA has become a flashpoint for advocates of immigrants like Maria Cruzado Jeanneau, it’s a thorny question mark now. "It pulls the rug out from under the feet of a lot of young folks," said Rep. Brenda Lopez (D-Norcross), an immigration lawyer and Georgia legislator. She says many DACA recipients will have few options in the next six months. "Right now, the advice is, take a breather and get ready to continue doing advocacy work and fighting against these issues," Lopez said.
One immigrant not fighting it will be Mohamed Ameen, a U.S. Army reservist who came to the US as a refugee from Sri Lanka. Ameen supports President Trump’s stance on DACA. "We have immigration laws on the books. We can’t be just sympathetic to people who break it every time," he said, noting that he went through a lengthy and costly legal process to attain US citizenship.
But Marie Cruzado Jeanneau says it’s about more than sympathy.
"Today has been really hard. It’s been difficult," she said while stifling tears. "It’s difficult to know there are people out there who don’t believe in who we are."