Chattanooga DACA recipients speak out

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — After the Trump administration announced they plan to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, recipients in the Tennessee Valley are feeling uncertain.

Alondra Gomez is a freshman at UTC. Her parents brought her to the United States from Mexico when she was five years old.

“It didn’t dawn on me the severity of the circumstance until I was about to graduate high school and I realized that there were not a lot of options for students like me there was no resources in terms of scholarships or places that I could go to that didn’t limit me because of my immigration status,” Gomez said.

She was able to get help by becoming a Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals recipient.

“So I received my first job I got a drivers license. I was able to finally start applying for colleges and hope for something better for my education. And now I am here at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. I am apart of their honors college. I am so excited to start this new experience so I am really disappointed this is happening with DACA,” Gomez said.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced they planned to end DACA. President Trump says Congress has six months to legalize DACA and if they can’t he will revisit the issue.

Immigration attorney Martin Lester says people who support DACA recipients should contact their representatives.

“I would say everyone that supports dreamers which is what they are often called and supports a path forward for these young people needs to contact their elected representatives and let them know Congress has to solve this problem and they have to solve it soon before these young people start finding themselves being deported to countries that many of them have no memory of,” Lester said.

Gomez says she won’t give up.

“They may have taken our DACAs away, they may have taken away that little bit of freedom that we have, but they didn’t take away our voice. They didn’t take away our ability to stand up for ourselves and that is what is going to make the difference,” Gomez said.

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition will be hosting an information session about this issue Thursday, September 7,  at 6 p.m. at Howard School of Academics and Technology’s cafeteria.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News