Local Dreamer concerned as DACA deadline approaches

MADISON, Wis. - After the Senate failed to find a proposal on immigration reform, the fate of the so-called "Dreamers" is still uncertain. Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and their families are facing the reality that Congress might not agree on an immigration plan to replace the Obama-era program. The DACA program, which shields undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, is set to expire March 5th. 


Alondra Quechol, 21, helps youth with social services at Centro Hispano in Madison. It's a job she's afraid she won't be able to continue if Congress does not agree on immigration reform.


"If we get DACA taken away, we may get our driver's license taken away, or workers permit that is allowing to get the income that we can't fill in for our scholarship from the federal government so it's like what do we do know," Quechol said.


Quechol moved from Mexico with her parents when she was 3 years old. She's one of five children. Only three of her siblings were born in the U.S. She hopes the Dream Act can be passed for her family and 800,000 other DACA recipients to have a path forward.


"We still go through society knowing we are living under the shadows and controlled by the government. We are not doing anything wrong. We are just here hoping to continue on and hoping for the better of the future generations of our family," she said.


The Senate tried but failed to pass four separate immigration proposals Thursday. A bill drafted by a bipartisan group of senators was unable to get enough votes. It would have funded the president's border wall while providing a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children.


"For the dreamers that are out there particularly, this is a time if there isn't a solution that has been reached by March 5th, you must go back to your thinking before DACA," said Madison Immigration Law attorney, Huma Ahsan.


Ahsan is advising her clients to take precautions and stay out of the view of law enforcement to avoid deportation. Even if one of the proposed plans is passed, she fears there will still be negative consequences.


"There will be a path but the important thing what is in unintended consequences from this, particularly those through sponsoring families, your mom, dad, brother and sister. Those are things that are going to affect not only the dreamers but others who have immigrated to this country," she said.


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