‘Undocumented’ - DACA’s impact on recipients living in the Hudson Valley
The Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday in a case challenging President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.
News 12 is taking a deeper look at how the decision is already impacting the lives of DACA recipients living in the Hudson Valley.
Gabriel Gaumbana, an Ossining barber, was born in Ecuador and brought by his parents to the U.S. illegally when he was 7 years old. If DACA ends, it would put an end to his livelihood as a barber.
"Everything is riding on this decision - either make it or break it, your whole life will literally change,” he says. "We are not asking for pity or for you to give us this. No, we are just asking for that opportunity that every wave of immigrants had."
A total of 700,000 people have been granted protection through DACA – about 41,000 of them live in New York state. The program grants them protection from deportation and the ability to apply for a work permit and driver’s license.
"As soon as President Obama passed that executive order the doors opened up immensely,” he says.
But it was only temporary. In 2017, President Donald Trump moved to end the program.
Some lawmakers across the country believe the program is illegal and shouldn't exist, but there are those who believe the program is on the right side of history.
"To be a nation of immigrants we must integrate those individuals who come from other countries and make them feel a part of the community and the fabric of our neighborhoods,” says former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
Speaking at an event in Purchase last week, Mayorkas praised the program he helped implement back in 2012.
"I think that it has proven that government can take both action and sweeping reform and impact people's lives for the better,” he says.
Now it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide whether the program should continue. The court could make a decision by this spring.