Fate Of DACA Recipients Still In Limbo
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Here's President Trump and ABC's David Muir on the fate of young people called DREAMers in the country without documentation and granted relief by the Obama administration from immediate deportation.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT WITH DAVID MUIR")
DAVID MUIR: Is there anything you can say to assure them right now that they will be allowed to stay?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They shouldn't be very worried. They are here illegally. They shouldn't be very worried. I do have a big heart.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was in January. The president went on to say his administration would come out with a new policy in the next four weeks. But so far, the fate of the some 700,000 in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, remains in limbo. One man detained in February has been deported and has filed a lawsuit against the government.
Ciriac Alvarez Valle is a DACA recipient. She was brought to Salt Lake City when she was just five years old. When we first spoke to her in January, she was a senior at the University of Utah.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: She graduated on Friday, and you can hear that graduation there. Ciriac, welcome back to the program and congratulations.
CIRIAC ALVAREZ VALLE: Hi, thank you. And thank you for having me back.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How has your school year gone and how was it to finally graduate?
VALLE: Graduation was really fun. It was also really exciting to be able to be the first in my whole family in the United States to be graduating. And the last few weeks, a couple weeks ago, my grandfather actually passed away.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm sorry.
VALLE: Yeah. And because he was in Mexico, I wasn't able to go see him. And as difficult as it was to have to go through finals knowing that and knowing that my family in Mexico and here was really sad, it was kind of like a light at the end of the tunnel to be able to graduate.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What's been your experience with people in your own community who don't have legal status? How has it been for members of your family? We've seen a ramping up of deportations and a real fear within immigrant communities about being deported from the United States.
VALLE: Definitely fear and anxiety to go to work, to live their lives. It just scares our communities, especially my family and other families. There may not be ICE raids actually happening, but people are saying there are. And it just adds to the fear.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ICE being Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. They carry out the raids on immigrant communities. So we spoke in January, and I'm curious to know what the reaction was from friends and family and social networks to your coming out so publicly and speaking about your situation and that of your family.
VALLE: They were really supportive. They called me brave and courageous because not a lot of people are able to do it because of the fear and the anxiety and everything else that comes with it. But I also did get some backlash over social media like Twitter, Facebook, calling me an illegal, telling me to go back to my country.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you worried that by speaking out, you could put your status at risk?
VALLE: It does put a worry in me. However, I feel that if I let that worry and fear and other DREAMers let that worry and fear overcome us, then we'll just go back to the shadows. And I think, like other DREAMers who have come before me, I'm undocumented and unafraid. And I'm going to keep staying undocumented and unafraid because my family needs someone to stand up for them, and my communities need people to be able to speak about our truth.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What are your plans after graduation?
VALLE: I'm planning to start law school fall of 2018.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Law school - what kind of law do you want to practice? I think I might know the answer to this.
VALLE: (Laughter) Yes. It's either immigration law or civil rights law because I'm very passionate about people's rights, especially in the immigrant community.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ciriac Alvarez Valle speaking to us from Salt Lake City. Thanks so much.
VALLE: Thank you so much.
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