NewsCovering Colorado


Community meeting held for DACA recipients in Colorado Springs

Posted at 10:15 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 11:03:42-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The status of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, justices heard arguments over the Trump Administration's decision to end the DACA program which allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country.

In Colorado - there are thousands of DACA recipients who could be impacted if the program goes away.

On Tuesday night a community meeting held was held in Colorado Springs to support and inform DACA recipients. A small group gathered at Vista Grande Community Church. The meeting - an information session on what's currently going on with DACA and also a chance for recipients and others impacted by this to share their stories.

Community Organizer and DACA recipient Nayda Benitez said, "I want the Supreme Court to know that we are going to hold them accountable if they decide to side with Trump's decision to rescind DACA."

Benitez is just one of thousands of Coloradans whose life could be changed forever if the DACA program goes away.

She said, "Without DACA we will lose our protection from deportations. We will lose so much. We have grown up here. This is our home. Colorado's our home. The U.S. is our home."

Fellow DACA recipient Monica Perez Valdvoinos feels the same way. She came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was just a baby.

Valdvoinos said, "I've never returned back home since I was eight months old so this is my home. I don't know anything else."

The Trump Administration calls DACA "unconstitutional" and argues that the president had no choice but to end the program in 2017 which former President Obama created by executive memorandum in 2012.

President Trump tweeted that of the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients more than 53,000 have arrest records.

As justices in the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday watchers say based on questions asked it appears the court, which is mostly conservative, seems likely to side with the Trump Administration.

In the meantime, DACA recipients will continue to wait and fight.

Valdvoinos said, "We're going to continue to advocate for what's right and to continue to spread the word that home is here, and we need to do everything we can to protect DACA."

In June, the House passed a bill which would make DACA the law of the land but the Senate has not acted on it. People like Benitez shared that they will be reaching out to government leaders expressing their concerns about the situation.