WASHINGTON - Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, rallied outside the White House as part of 22 days of protest after reports indicated President Donald Trump was expected to announce the end of the Obama-era immigration program on Tuesday.
The program grants work permits to 790,000 undocumented immigrants who came into the U.S. before they age of 16. With the fate of the undocumented immigrants uncertain, faith leaders and immigration advocates gathered for a vigil in front of the White House as the Trump administration prepares to announce its decision.
“DACA really changed my life. Without DACA I wasn't able to go to school, college, because even though I was accepted they asked me for (citizenship) verification,” explained Jungwo Kim, a DACA recipient who said he came to the U.S. from South Korea with his sister when he was 15 years old. “It was not my decision. I didn't have any intention to come to America. My parents thought that I could have a better future in America.”
While DACA allows undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation and legally get a job, it's not a path to citizenship. President Barack Obama passed the program through executive order as a stopgap measure while Congress worked on an immigration overhaul, but Congress has yet to pass immigration reform.
Sources told Fox News that after ending DACA, Trump was planning a six month-delay to give Congress time to act.
“My thought is the approach the president is rumored to be taking is probably the right one,” said John Wells, an attorney visiting D.C. who supports ending the DACA program. “My problem is not DACA per se. My problem is the way it was initiated. President Obama exceeded his authority in my opinion, and I am an attorney, by issuing his executive order. If we want to take care of these kids, then that's fine, but it needs to come through Congress.”
For DACA recipients, it's a waiting game to see if they'll have to leave the place they call home.
“I don't think I can prepare, I don't think anyone can prepare for something like that,” Kim said.
The reason the DACA issue is being brought to the center of attention is that 10 state attorney generals gave Trump an ultimatum, which was to end DACA or they would sue the federal government. That deadline was set for Tuesday.
Tuesday will be the final day of the 22-day protest and there will also be immigrants rights marches planned in D.C. and throughout the country.