GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Michigan is home to more than 6,000 recipients of DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The 2012 program allows permits for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to work and study in the country. Local groups spoke out for the so-called DREAMers Tuesday.
With the six-month delay, there is concern for how the government will proceed with terminating DACA, said Christian Montesinos, an immigration attorney in Grand Rapids who has worked with over 1,000 people on DACA applications and renewals.
"I'm constantly getting phone calls about people wondering, most importantly, are they going to be deported?" Montesinos said. "What's going to happen? What's going to happen to them and their families? I think a lot of people who don't know the complexities and intricacies of immigration law can very easily say, 'Keep it,' or "Take it away.' But there's much more to it than that."
The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, which has more than 70 DACA recipients in the center each year, also criticized President Trump's decision.
"[These are] very productive [people], the type of workforce that we need here in our community, particularly here in Western Michigan," said Executive Director Roberto Torres. "So we're saddened by the decision, but we're hopeful that legislators will do the right thing to provide these opportunities for these young people."
The Michigan Democrats also released a statement:
"Donald Trump’s actions today are cruel and bend to the wishes of extremists in the Republican Party. Michigan Democrats proudly stand with the 6,430 DACA beneficiaries in Michigan and believe that America’s biggest strength is our diversity."
WZZM 13 reached out to Republican groups for their reaction, and have yet to receive comment. Many within the GOP are divided on the DACA issue. Some say DREAMers need to go, but others oppose disrupting people who have lived most of their lives in the U.S.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.
© 2018 WZZM-TV