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Local DACA recipients, advocates gather in D.C. to push for immigration reform

Local immigration advocates are bringing their fight to our nation's capital this week.

They're demanding a permanent fix for DACA recipients, young undocumented immigrants brought to the u-s as children.

"We need both parties to work together because both parties need immigrants," said Luz Gallegos, executive director at the TODEC Legal Center.

The push comes after democrats were blocked from including a pathway to legal status for millions of immigrants in a spending package.

"We need to pass legislation in Congress and put it on the president's desk," said Congressman Raul Ruiz.

The Biden administration now says it's proposing a new rule that would protect DACA from legal challenges after a Texas court halted the program in July. Immigration advocates note the last time the U.S. enacted sweeping reform was in the 80s and they want more now.

"We are tired of the oppression," Gallegos said.

Local Dreamers say they are tired of living in fear and uncertainty.

"What if one day they just separate us or send us back to Mexico?," said Natalia Margarito, a DACA recipient.

Others say while DACA has helped them get a good job and an education, there are still limitations.

"It was a lot more difficult for me financially with college, so I wasn't able to finish," said Alma Benito, a DACA recipient.

Undocumented immigrants like Alma don't qualify for federal public benefits, from student aid to healthcare.

"We pay taxes just like any other citizen, why can't we have an input on who can represent us?," Benito said.

The local 'Dreamers' we spoke with said that despite the stalemate on DACA in Congress, they are still hopeful that positive changes will be made under the current administration, noting their futures in this country could depend on it.

Whether reform comes by way of congress or executive action by the president remains to be seen.

"I'm going to believe them when like I actually see a change," Margarito said.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3

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