AUSTIN - Nearly 800,000 people are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
DACA was started by Obama in 2012 to allow certain undocumented immigrants who were children when they were brought to the U.S. to apply for deferred action, and be eligible for work permits. Organizations came together in Austin on Saturday to speak with the "dreamers" about what they need.
“They also don't want us to say we're sorry,” said Eugene Sepulveda, director and partner of Capital Factory and CEO of Entrepreneurs Foundation. “They want us to say ‘This sucks, I get it, what can we do?’”
Organizers said they wanted to learn what's going on, what their worries are, what would be helpful and figure out the next steps together.
It was an idea that caused Nelly Garcia to head to the Capital Factory Saturday morning.
Garcia said she’s lived in the United States for 15 years.
“This is home now for me,” Garcia said. “It feels more like home than Mexico does.”
She expressed her frustrations of feeling helpless.
“You come here, you do the best that you can, and get great grades at school, and you're hoping for a scholarship to college,” she said. “Just to lead the same life that you see other kids have. There seems to always be a wall that you cannot seem to cross.”
She explained that feeling like an outsider for more than a decade has left her longing to feel wanted.
“We wanted people to know the tech community, the business community cares about DACA recipients,” said Sepulveda. “We represent Texas, not just Austin.”
Organizers said they hope Saturday's summit gave a complete view of the current landscape surrounding DACA, information about the future of the program, and resources for DACA recipients in Austin.
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