El Paso

Borderland Dreamers react to announcement DACA will be phased out

Borderland Dreamers react to...

EL PASO, Texas - On Monday ABC-7 introduced viewers to two Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in El Paso, who were uncertain about their future.

On Tuesday, ABC-7 spoke with them again about their plans after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to rescind the so-called Dreamers program.

Paola Rodriguez, 19, and Roberto Valadez-Pena, 24, both came to El Paso from Juarez illegally with their parents as small children. Both said they expect to renew their DACA status by the deadline in early October. But doing away with DACA has them hoping for a congressional solution, while planning for the possibility of the worst situation ... deportation.

"We're not going to let this affect us," Rodriguez said through tears Tuesday. "We're still going to keep fighting."


The El Paso dreamer and recent graduate of Burges High School recently obtained her cosmetology license. She said the DACA decision is already affecting her search for a job.

"They might not want to hire me because of these issues that we're going through," she said. "So it's definitely just tougher looking for a job now."

She thinks doing away with DACA will send many back into the shadows.

"We were just living in the shadows and I've had DACA for like three or four years now, so it definitely gave me a lot of confidence to go out and to not be scared and to fight for my rights and other student's rights," Rodriguez said. "Now that all this has happened it's like we're going to have to go back into shelter, back into the shadows, and in a really tough situation."

Twenty-four year-old Roberto Valadez-Pena is a senior Sociology major at UTEP. He admitted he's worried, but vowed, like other Dreamers, to keep fighting for a congressional solution.

"Although times are hard, this is the opportunity now to press for something different which would be the permanent solution," Valadez-Pena said. "At this point, Dreamers have fought so hard for so long, we have to keep fighting."

Asked what he would do if forced ultimately to leave this country, he said: "Me personally, I would try to move to Canada, Europe. But again, it's something we don't really want to think about. Step by step let's keep fighting for a solution and then we'll see."

Valadez-Pena told ABC-7 a path to citizenship for Dreamers would be the best and most permanent solution.

Rodriguez is hoping that Congress can come up with something better than DACA. She said in the meantime, she'll continue to look for a job and save money, preparing for the possibility of the worst.


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