Thursday is the last day for thousands of people who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA to renew their applications. It protects from deportation for undocumented immigrants or ‘Dreamers’, who were brought to the U.S. as children. President Trump announced the end of the program last month, putting recipients in limbo.
Rallies sprouted across the country calling for a "Clean Dream Act,” demanding Congress help pave the way for the 800,000 dreamers.
That demand was also heard in north Austin, protestors rallied outside Congressman Michael McCaul's office. Many were carrying signs displaying their concerns, including #DreamActNow and #HereToStay.
Congressman McCaul introduced the Border Security For America Act, a measure that was passed by The House Homeland Security Committee this week.
It adds $10 billion to the construction of a border wall, $5 billion for the modernization of our ports of entry, adds more boots on the ground, on top of extra technology to monitor the border. Protestors are pushing for leaders to find different ways to address immigration policies.
Thousands of DACA recipients continue to scramble to meet the Oct. 5 deadline. As for Karen Reyes, an Austin teacher who specializes in deaf education, she says she wasn't eligible for renewal. Her status expires next August.
“We have such a hard time hiring people and keeping teachers, and I want to be in there and really help out these families go through this journey. And knowing that it could be my last year and I could not have these students next year unless something happens, it's been rough. I know I'm not the only one feeling this,” Reyes said.
Staff at Foster Global Immigration, a law firm in Austin, say there may be some options in the works.
“We understand that members of both parties, the Republicans and the Democrats are looking at the Dream Act. They have been arguing about the abuse of law that was the basis of DACA, so now it's on to Congress to actually pass the Dream Act,” Managing Partner Robert Loughran said. “And it's something that has had full bipartisan support in the Congress, and the President is fully supportive of the Dream Act. So, we are hopeful--- some say that we'll have action on it this year."
Congress continues to work to write legislation that would put other protections in place.
Permits must be renewed before midnight Oct. 5.