Local dreamer weighs in on DACA ruling

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill will continue to try to find a way to allow hundreds of thousands of so-called dreamers to stay in the country.

An estimated 700,000 young people, brought to the United States illegally by their parents, have been protected by an Obama-era policy that President Donald Trump wants to end in March. He said he would replace it with a comprehensive immigration policy, but only if it includes a security wall along the Mexico border.

A federal judge in California ruled Tuesday night that the president’s efforts to end the DACA program were unconstitutional.

An estimated 8,000 people living in Wisconsin are protected by the DACA policy. They said while the judge’s ruling is a step forward, their future is still unclear.

“It’s sad to see that we were in a space under the Obama administration to be able to step out of those shadows that we were so confined in and not be so afraid of speaking out and doing what we’d want in pursuing our goals, our ambitions, our aspirations,” Juan Alvarez-Zavala, a DACA recipient, said.

Alvarez-Zavala, 17, is a senior at Verona High School. He started the school year, though, not knowing if his DACA would be renewed. It was set to expire in early November, but his renewal came in mid-October. Since then, he’s been accepted to Carleton College in Minnesota, where he plans to study political science.

Alvarez-Zavala said he’ll be able to live without fear for the next two years, but Tuesday’s decision comes with mixed reaction.

“[My reaction] was honestly just all over the place,” he said. “I would much rather already be on a pathway toward citizenship, whether that be a vocation or just waiting for it to be, hopefully, approved and not living in this two year phase of, ‘Am I going to get deported or am I good to walk out my door.'”

He said the ruling is not a plan and is encouraging Congress to pass a clean Dream Act that would pave a pathway toward citizenship for Dreamers.