LEHI, Utah (News4Utah) - A groups of Dreamers are confident a resolution will be found on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), after meeting with the Utah delegation. This comes after President Donald Trump rejected a bipartisan proposal from lawmakers on Thursday.
Edison Suasnavas,31, is a Dreamer who came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 13, and now lives in Saratoga Springs. Suasnavas was apart of the group who visited with the Utah congressional delegation in Washington D.C. earlier this week.
He was surprised how supportive everyone was of the DACA program and Dreamers.
"After the trip I'm more encouraged that something is going to happen," said Suasnavas.
The DACA program allows immigrants who were brought here as children by their parents to gain some legal status. The program allows them to work, go to school, and get a driver's license, but does not grant citizenship.
Suasnavas has a master's degree in molecular biology, and works for a company that tests for cancer in patients samples. He notes that before DACA he worked as a janitor and didn't have many options.
"After DACA it changed my life because I was able to apply to a job with benefits with insurance, and that allowed me to pay so much more taxes."
Advocates note that there are thousands of Dreamers in critical conditions from education to hospital staff. One of those Dreamers is Ana Cueva of Lehi. She's currently an ICU nurse, but once couldn't work for 28 days when her DACA renewal lapsed due to a backlog.
"For that month I was placed on a suspension," said Cueva. "We were shorted staffed they were struggling to fill my spot, and when it happens in a hospital your patients feel it too."
Cueva was one of the Dreamers in D.C. pushing lawmakers to pass a DACA bill by January 19th. DACA won't expire until March, but she notes more than 15,000 have already lost status because they can't renew.
There are nearly 10,000 Dreamers in Utah along with more than 800,000 around the country.
Cueva said she also understands why the DACA legislation is a part of bigger bill which includes border security and some immigration reforms.
"I know we want DACA fixed, but I understand the Republican need for border security," said Cueva. "'Cause as one of the staffers mentioned we don't want to have to come back to the same problem 20 years from now."
Advocates said the longer lawmakers wait on passing DACA reforms the more people will fall out of status. They point out that the legislation will take time to implement.
Lawmakers and their staffs did admit to some of those visiting that they might not have things done by January 19th.
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