MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Monday night, hundreds gathered in downtown Memphis, united in protecting their neighbors from possible deportation. The event urged President Donald Trump and Congress to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - or DACA - program.
It protects undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation to continue school or work and requires renewals every two years.
President Trump is expected to announce Tuesday he’s canceling the DACA program unless Congress comes up with an alternative within six months.
"It's just this uncertainty is very excruciating, what's going to happen tomorrow,” DACA recipient Fatima Escobar said.
Escobar and other DACA recipients in Memphis were overcome by emotion, as they symbolically tossed away their dreams and goals in an open casket.
"I'm worried about my future and how I could possibly lose that,” DACA recipient Itzel Gomez said.
Their potential, possible breakthroughs and future achievements in America, are all at stake if the DACA program is canceled.
"You are taking away Memphis future and Memphis progress by taking away such a powerful workforce," Escobar said.
Hundreds of people, some Latino, others not, stood in solidarity to protect the “DREAMers,” scholars and tax paying employees, from being forced of this country; for some, the only country they know.
"I grew up feeling I was American,” Gomez said.
"It's both an economic and humane impulse that brought us here,” DACA supporter Tom Walsh said.
DACA supporters hold out hope should President Trump, as expected, announce his intention to cancel the DACA program, Congress will step in and pass the proposed Dream Act, which would provide a path to legal status for undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children.
"Many people on both sides of the aisle support this, Republican and Democrat, so it shouldn't be a partisan issue, but a human issue,” Walsh said.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, a Republican, announced his support for the Dream Act last week.
The DACA program protects nearly 800,000 people in the U.S., since President Obama put the executive order into place in 2012.
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