PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The clock is ticking for Dreamers with DACA set to expire, but congressional Democrats are pushing to have it renewed before the end of the year.
Ana Alberto is a Dreamer. She was born outside of Mexico City, but came to U.S. when she was just 10 years old, growing up in Duquesne. Now, at 24, she works as a hair stylist on the South Side and considers herself a Pittsburgher.
“I love the Steelers, I love the Pirates, and of course, I love the Penguins, too,” she said.
For now, Ana’s status is protected from deportation under DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — afforded to immigrants who came here as illegally as children but were too young to know the difference.
“I was 10 years old. I didn’t know any better,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was going to come to, anything.”
DACA is set to expire in March and President Trump has left it to Congress to craft a solution. Congressional Democrats like Congressman Mike Doyle are pushing to make its protections permanent and give the Dreamers a path to citizenship.
“They’re in school, they’re working, they’re productive citizens,” he said. “The kind of people you want to have when you think about immigration.”
Republican Mike Kelly says he’s also sympathetic to the Dreamers but concerned about illegal immigration and its impact on crime and U.S. jobs. He wants a comprehensive immigration plan that includes thorough vetting.
“Something that does allow for us to have open arms and open hearts, but by the same token, not a closed mind as to everybody who’s coming here,” he said. “Not all are coming here because they want to do something good for America.”
Ana says she and the Dreamers proven their worth to America.
“I’m willing to do anything to stay here, pretty much,” she said. “I’m willing to fight until to the last minute to stay here.”