Connecticut lawmakers, locals react to Trump's DACA decision - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut lawmakers, locals react to Trump's DACA decision

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The president is expected to end a program that extended protections to young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

President Donald Trump's decision to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is not sitting well with Connecticut lawmakers.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said it betrays American values.

"Threatening deportation will cruelly disrupt and derail hundreds of thousands Dreamers' lives and cost America their enormous skills and energy," Blumenthal said in a statement. "Just days ago the president called the Dreamers 'terrific' and said 'we love' them,' making his plan the height of hypocrisy and inhumanity."

Blumenthal pledged to redouble a bipartisan fight to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or Dream Act. The proposal would be a means for illegal immigrant children in the country to get conditional and later permanent residency, if qualifications are met.

"Five years ago, the United States government made a promise to the Dreamers: step out of the shadows and you will be protected, not punished," he said. "If President Trump attempts to break that vow, we will fight him every step of the way.”

Sen. Chris Murphy posted his response to Twitter.

"Dear Republicans, your moment has come. Every Democrat will join you. Show the courage and grace to save these children, and our nation," Murphy wrote.

The president is looking to end the program in six months.

People familiar with the president's thinking told the Associated Press that the delay is meant to give Congress time to make a decision on Dreamers legislation.

Some of the people protected by this program are in Connecticut.

Vania Galicia came to Willimantic when she was just 3 years old, and has little to no memories of her life in Mexico. 

“This is where I grew up, where I made my friends,” Galicia said.

Her life in America is all she knows. She's a dreamer, a child brought into the country illegally. 

“People ask you for certain pieces of paper and you're like, 'oh, I don't have that.' You realize you're undocumented, and that puts the fear over your shoulders,” Galicia said.

Under the DACA program, she was protected because she could prove she was in the state for years and always stayed out of trouble.

On Sunday, her fears re-emerged after reports that President Trump will end the program, with a six-month delay.

It's a move the president has grappled with throughout his term. When campaigning he promised to eliminate it. When he took office, he told the Associated Press, that those covered could "rest easy."  

now, Galicia doesn't know where she stands. 

“We don't have to be looked at as dreamers, specifically, but as human beings. These are our dreams. We all have goals and deserve to be able to carry out those goals,” Galicia said.

She is now a freshman at Eastern Connecticut State University and her goal is to eventually be a lawyer. She doesn't want to put her dreams on the backburner, but she says she's ready to because right now, she says her life as she's always known it, is being threatened. 

“We've gone to school, done our best, and all there is left to do is fight,” Galicia said.

She said the community in Willimantic and the University is very supportive.

In fact, there will be a rally on campus on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

On Monday, Congressman Joe Courtney issued a statement saying "If President Trump decides to revoke DACA it would punish children for the actions of their parents. Not only is that fundamentally unfair, it will indiscriminately deport some of the brightest most talented students in our country. At Eastern Connecticut State University in Windham, I met a few days ago with staff who reported that there are 93 DREAMers enrolled there with many of them pursuing STEM majors and averaging 3.55 GPAs. Our nation's employers are telling Washington in the strongest terms possible, we need those kinds of students in America's workforce, not in handcuffs. As an original cosponsor of the HOPE Act which will codify DACA and thus protect these young people, I will work to stop any harmful rush to judgment by the president."

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