MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A who’s who of education, business and political leaders in Miami Wednesday urged the Trump administration to continue DACA, the Dreamers policy that has kept children who arrived in the United States without documentation safe from deportation. The policy was implemented by the Obama administration in 2012.
“These young people are an important component of our future, and today we are telling them ‘we are with you,'” said Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padron at the event at MDC’s downtown Miami Wolfson Campus.
Also among the speakers was Monica Lazaro, who came to the U.S. when she was nine years old.
“What happens if DACA ends within the next coming days,” Lazaro asked. “My graduate school dreams are shattered.”
Her worries span some 800,000 registered DACA recipients.
Dreamers from numerous countries, including Argentina, Honduras, Nicaragua and Uruguay attended Wednesday’s event, and were given a standing ovation by the host of dignitaries.
Michelle Santamaria, a Dreamer from Nicaragua, said she fears a knock at the door in the middle of the night.
“I really do,” Santamaria said. “I might be deported, but my sisters wouldn’t be because they were born in the United States.”
Supporters say the Dreamers will go on to careers, become consumers, buy homes, buy cars and build the American economy.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent said the students in his schools sing the National Anthem, say the Pledge of Allegiance, are loyal to their adopted country and “American in every way except on paper.”
“We cannot allow them to recede back to a dark corner, fearful of what tomorrow will bring,” Carvalho said.
For many of them, America is the only country and English the only language they’ve really known.
“I came here when I was four years old. I can’t go back to my country. I can’t speak Spanish very well, so I won’t have a future,” said Gaston Gasparotti from Uruguay.
The young peoples’ supporters say America is at a critical moment of moral decision.
“We are committed to support the students, not just because it’s the right thing to do, it’s the humanitarian thing to do,” said Provost Jeffrey Duerk from the University of Miami.
President Trump, who has taken a tough stance on immigration, hasn’t ruled on the Dreamers. On Friday, the White House dodged DACA.
“It continues to be under review, and when we have an announcement we’ll let you guys know,” said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The announcement could come next week, as early as Tuesday. That’s a deadline set by the Republican attorneys general of ten states, who say they will sue the federal government if DACA is not dismantled.
Immigrant advocates say their ultimate goal is for Congress to enshrine DACA into law and enact comprehensive immigration reform, providing a pathway to citizenship.