Local DACA recipient talks about uncertainty of the program, judge’s latest ruling

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DACA sparked national headlines again this week when a federal judge ruled in favor of the program.

While one local recipient saw the decision as a glimmer of hope, he still is worried about losing all that he’s worked for since moving to America. 

Jose Ramirez remembers life before DACA.

“I was working pretty much three jobs and going full-time to school,” said Ramirez.

The 25-year-old moved from Mexico to Harrisburg 17 years ago. Ramirez and his siblings applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program when it got started in 2012.

“My parents, my family, always pushing me…’we want you to be better than what we were,” said Ramirez.

His application was accepted, and Ramirez was able to get a driver’s license, a work permit, and go to college. 

“It changed my life tremendously,” said Ramirez. 

But when he found out President Donald Trump wanted to stop the program, Ramirez said he felt sick to his stomach.

“I felt robbed of my opportunities,” said Ramirez. 

The President insists the program, created by the Obama administration for kids who came into the U.S. illegally or whose family has expired visas, breaks federal law.

“This is affecting thousands of people in the Midstate, hundreds of thousands of people all over the country,” said Widener Law Professor Jill Family. “The Trump administration, according to the judge, didn’t do a very good job at explaining why it was ending DACA.” 

The judge said the Trump administration must accept new DACA applicants. “The judge is requiring the Trump administration to come back with a better reason,” said Family. 

Trump’s press secretary shot back saying the ruling is extraordinarily broad, and that it’s time for Congress to come up with a permanent fix.

While the future of DACA remains uncertain, so does the future of Ramirez and his family.

“I do want to believe that we are going to come to a solution,” said Ramirez. 

Ramirez is now working as a nurse, and hopes to increase awareness about how community members in the Midstate are affected by DACA.

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