By Gregg McQueen
Born in Mexico, José López came to the U.S. at age five.
López was able to obtain a work permit and driver’s license, attend City College and pay for tuition.
“This is home,” said the Washington Heights resident. “Most of us came when we were really young. All our lives have been formed here.”
But López, together with 42,000 residents of New York State, are finding the lives they have established since arriving in the United States are in limbo.
López is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipient, one of more than 800,000 young immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as undocumented children by their families.
Implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA has permitted program recipients to live and work legally in the U.S., and avoid deportation.
But in September 2017, the Trump administration announced the program would be rescinded. After two federal court injunctions delayed DACA’s demise, the program is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard arguments on Tuesday in the case to preserve the program.
DACA recipients and immigrant advocates, including State Attorney General Letitia James, representatives from the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR), chanted “Home is here!” outside the courthouse building.
And back in Washington Heights, elected officials and DACA supporters echoed that sentiment.
López now works for NMCIR’s legal department and formerly served as an intern to Congressman Adriano Espaillat, who held a press conference on Tuesday to voice his support for the DACA program.
Read more: A Promise in Peril | Manhattan Times
Related: The Death of DACA | Manhattan Times