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BEECHVIEW (KDKA) — Local “Dreamers” gathered in Beechview on Saturday to ask questions and file new paperwork with the government.
The stress and anxiety was palpable in the room at Casa San Jose. Dozens of young adults came out for a free workshop to renew their DACA status by submitting new paperwork. New paperwork is needed every two years.
“We’ve been here for so long. We’ve been here since we were little, some of us were babies,” said Ana Albeoto, DACA recipient.
Albeoto came to Pittsburgh from Mexico at the age of 10, and all she wants now is to stay.
“This is my second home — if not my first home because I barely remember where I grew up in Mexico,” said Albeoto. “So this is where I am and if I don’t stay here, then it’s going to be a new challenge.”
Albeoto and dozens of others met on Saturday, prepping their applications to stay in the country legally under DACA, or the “Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals,” a program that gives two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 young people brought into the United States illegally by their parents. Those young people are often called “Dreamers.”
Mario talks with a volunteer to begin his process of renewing his #DACA status. He supports all of his younger American-born siblings. He’s the only one not born here. @CBSPittsburgh pic.twitter.com/qqfDKQEBWr
— Meghan Schiller (@MeghanKDKA) January 20, 2018
In September, the Trump administration moved to end the DACA program, and amidst the recent government shutdown, the decision on the DACA program remains in limbo.
“It’s very difficult because I feel like I’m always doing damage control, right?” said Monica Ruiz, community organizer for Casa San Jose. “We can never get ahead of things and never plan things better. It’s always based on the latest tweet, what we have to do next, and that’s not a way to live my life or the lives of these people.”
Ruiz works at Casa San Jose and brought in immigration attorneys to work step-by-step with DACA applicants like Mario Soto Azael, who works to support his siblings. All of his brothers and sisters were born on American soil, but his parents brought him to the United States as a baby.
“Where would I go? I don’t know where I would go,” he said. “I don’t know anywhere else but here. I grew up here. My parents brought me at 7 months old.”