Rumor became reality this weekend, as President Trump is now expected to announce the end of DACA, with a six-month delay, on Tuesday.
White House sources told NBC News on Friday the President was leaning towards ending the Obama-era program; however, news broke Sunday that he had made a final decision.
“I was freaking out – full-fledged nerves,” DACA recipient Graciela Nunez Pargas said after hearing speculation last week. However, the final decision hit her differently: “It’s not the worst outcome. The worst outcome would have been: turn over your employment authorization cards; the program is null and void – it’s over.”
She calls reports of a six-month delay “surprising,” but welcomes the stay as it gives her more time to prepare.
DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects children brought into the United States by undocumented immigrants.
There are more than 780,000 people protected by DACA. Ending the program will have an impact in Washington State, which is home to an estimated 43,000 people who are currently eligible, according to Migration Policy Institute data from 2016.
DACA came under threat earlier this summer, after 10 states including Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia demanded that President Trump end the program by Sep. 5 or face a lawsuit.
The program grants work permits for and protects people like Nunez Pargas, who came here with her parents when she was 7 years old and overstayed their visas.
“I’ve lived here most of my life. I don’t remember anything of Venezuela,” said Nunez Pargas, now 22.
She works as a legal assistant after graduating from the University of Washington in December. She says the anticipation after Trump’s election win was hurting her the most.
“End the program. Give us a decision. Just let us know as soon as possible because we can’t be living with this. We can’t be living day to day: oh, he’s going to say it on Friday; Fox News leaked it on Thursday; it’s going to come on Monday. We can’t be living in a reality show finale,” Nunez Pargas said.
The Tukwila woman says she will fill potentially her last months in the United States fighting for a way to stay.
“We're looking for a permanent legislative solution which is the Dream Act. That is what we're going to be doing for the next six months, prepare for the Dream Act, a pathway to citizenship,” Nunez Pargas said, explaining she is organizing other DACA recipients to work on a grass roots movement.
“What’s going to happen Tuesday is not going to be the end; however, it’s going to be the beginning of the immigrant rights movement.”