DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – “Dreamers” spoke out and shared their stories Tuesday over President Trump’s decision to end DACA.
The so-called “dreamers” and their supporters — more than a hundred strong — gathered in Durham Tuesday evening.
The Obama-era program granted deportation protections to an estimated 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Late Tuesday, President Trump defended the decision to phase out the DACA program.
“I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly,” Trump said.
But many spoke out at the protest on Tuesday.
“You have students here who are already in college, who are already in higher education. You have students who are working. You have students who are contributing to society already. So my question is what more do you want from us?” Axel Herrera, a “dreamer” and Duke sophomore said.
Many of these “dreamers” have spent most of their lives in the U.S. Maggie Figueroa came to Durham when she was 5-years-old. She’s a senior in college.
“With DACA specifically I was able to get a job. I was able to get a scholarship,” Figueroa said.
Revoking DACA makes her future less certain.
The Trump administration said it will allow permits set to expire in the next six months to be renewed. That gives Congress time to act.
Dreamers and advocates were hoping to send a message.
“Being here and seeing the turnout, especially in my hometown, has been absolutely amazing,” Figueroa said.
“Hearing these stories, like connecting with people who have gone through the plight you understand the psychology, you understand how hurtful it is,” Alexandra Valladras, an advocate and former “dreamer” said.
Alexandra Valladras is a citizen but she said it took about 15 years.