Dallas Dreamers await immigration compromise, end of shutdown

Republican and Democratic leaders spent most of the weekend blaming each other and flexing partisan muscles after Democrats blocked a Senate bill to fund the government Friday night. Caught in the middle are the DACA Dreamers.

Ramiro Luna has spent the last decade plus advocating for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.

Long before the term "dreamers" caught on, Luna pushed for a path to citizenship, a way out of the shadows amid an existence with no legal status when those children reached adulthood.

Now 31, Luna says he's optimistic that day will come, despite only have a little more than 200 days left to legally be in the country he's called home most of his life.

"My dream is to be an American citizen," Luna says. "I consider myself an American through and through.”

Luna received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA in 2012 as part of an Obama administration executive order which gave nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants the chance to go to college and work in the U.S, but still provided no path to citizenship.

The executive order came only after Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the form of The Dream Act.

Luna is one of approximately 124,000 so-called "dreamers" live and work in Texas.

When the Trump administration announced the end of DACA last September, it left the work for a permanent solution to Congress.

No immigration legislation to protect the "dreamers" has been agreed upon in Congress.

Luna told WFAA that he is keeping close watch on the government shutdown that started over the weekend after Senate Democrats gathered enough votes to block the approving of a spending bill to keep the government funded.

"It (shutdown) may not be the easiest thing to do but this issue has been put on the back burner for far too long,” Luna said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced late Sunday night a planned vote for 11 a.m. Monday that could reopen the federal government, signaling a possible compromise on immigration.

That's progress for Jose Manuel Santoyo.

"Delaying further means more deportation," Santoyo said.

The 2016 SMU graduate arrived in the U.S. at the age of 8 after his mother fled with him from cartel ravaged violence in Mexico in 2001.

Santoyo traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month to continue to lobby members of the Texas congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle to push for immigration legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for "dreamers".

"We’re closer now than we’ve ever been to finding a solution to passing a bill," Santoyo said.

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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