Local DACA recipient left scrambling as program set to expire

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — A clinic was held Saturday to help navigate recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

President Donald Trump has set a deadline of October 5th for the program to expire leaving many undocumented immigrants protected from deportation through the program, scrambling to renew their two year permit.

But some are still worried they won’t be able to renew.

With his sister by his side, 19-year-old Jesus Baltazar talks with an immigration attorney at a DACA clinic at All Saints Academy trying figure out his options that will allow him to stay in the United States.

“Sadly I didn’t get the answers I wanted, but we’ll see what goes on from here on,” Jesus says.

DACA recipients whose permit expires before March 5th are allowed to renew.

Jesus says his permit expires in March, but won’t be able to renew leaving him in an uncertain position.

“I, I don’t really know. Like I, like I said earlier my back’s against the wall. My hands are tied,” Jesus continues.

For Jesus, as it currently stands, once his permit expires he’ll be considered an undocumented immigrant.

Immigration Attorney Brittany Faith spoke with Jesus and others at the clinic.

She says the main question she’s hearing is ‘Do I qualify for anything else’.

Faith says, “I walked someone through the process of applying through their spouse. I talked someone through the process of applying for a U visa which is for a victim of a qualifying crime, but for a lot of these people they don’t qualify for anything.”

As the deadline looms Faith stresses for people who can renew get their renewals mailed and in the system as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of resources. There are a lot of websites dedicated specifically for people in their situation. They should go and seek out those and also seek out an attorney to consult with,” she says.

As for Jesus, who was born in Guatemala, he had dreams of going to college. He says his parents brought him to the US for a better life and now he’s just hoping to find a way to stay.

“I don’t really want to go back like I grew up here, this is my home you know this is all I know,” Jesus says.


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