RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — So-called “dreamers” across the country are on edge, as they face an uncertain future following President Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA program.
In downtown Raleigh Saturday, hundreds of people came together to celebrate Latin American culture at La Festa del Pueblo.
At a time when many 18-year-olds are thinking about prom, graduation, and college, Viviana Mateo worries everything she worked so hard for could be taken away.
“I think that’s what DACA being taken away brought back, that constant fear that not only I but my community is now constantly living it that we could literally get deported and some people don’t even want to leave their house because of that,” Mateo said.
Mateo’s mother brought her to North Carolina from Mexico when she was just three months old.
“I don’t blame her for it. If anything I’m very grateful and appreciative for it,” Mateo said.
DACA, which stands for Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals, protects young immigrants, who are known as “dreamers,” brought to the United States by their undocumented parents.
It allows them to go to school and get renewable work permits every two years.
The Trump Administration plans to phase out the program. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the DACA program unconstitutional.
“This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens,” said Sessions.
That is leaving many “dreamers” worried about being deported.
“For me, it’s like I don’t understand how they think I can go back to what now would be a foreign country for me and just be thrown there and be OK with it,” said Mateo.
La Fiesta del Pueblo in downtown Raleigh is about celebrating Latin American culture, but El Pueblo is using the festival as a way to circulate a petition urging Congress and the president to protect DACA and pass the Dream Act.
“Having DACA was like a key to open doors and I feel like without DACA all those doors I opened for myself have been closed in my face,” said “dreamer,” Reyna Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is a part of El Pueblo’s youth group and is against the president’s decision.
“Our parents came here to give us a better future and we’re just here to demonstrate that their sacrifices have been for something,” said Gutierrez.