A group of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients met with Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday in Washington, D.C. to discuss a federal judge’s ruling in Texas that declared the end of the program.
One of them was 28-year-old Susie Lujano, who came to the United States country from Mexico when she was two years old. Both and her sister are DACA recipients.
Hours after the Thursday meeting, Lujano spoke with Latino Rebels about what she and others told the Vice President.
“I think that we delivered that message very well. We all stated the urgency that there is for our families, for ourselves, and for our communities. And she received it and agreed to it. This is the moment to fight for this,” Lujano said.
Harris told the DACA recipients that “this is your home” and added that those who currently benefit from the program will not be affected by the federal judge’s order.
“I want to make clear to the DREAMers that are here, and to those who are watching from home, this is your home, this is your home, and we see you and you are not alone,” Harris said.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling said that any new DACA applications are barred but those who are already enrolled will not lose protections.
DACA beneficiaries have had to defend the program since the Trump administration also tried to prevent new applications. Recipients and their allies want the Biden administration to fulfill a campaign promise that will guarantee a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients as well as other undocumented individuals.
“I come out of there hopeful even if I’m realistic, and I know there is a lot of work that we still need to do. Just because we came here today doesn’t mean that that’s it for us. We have to keep fighting and our communities just cannot give up. I know that’s really a lot easier said than done. But that’s just how it is. We are resilient and we just have to keep being that way,” Lujano said.
Biden and the White House are calling for Congress to act on opening a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.
Yesterday’s Federal court ruling is deeply disappointing. While the court’s order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision nonetheless relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future. It is my fervent hope that Congress will act.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 17, 2021
Juanita Ramos Ardila is a Colombian journalist who has written for El Tiempo and ColPrensa. An M.A. Journalism candidate at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, Juanita is also Latino Rebels’ 2021 Summer Correspondent. Twitter: @JuanitaRamosA.