Texas Border Coalition Backs DACA Extension

The Texas Border Coalition, which represents people who live along the Rio Grande, mainly in deep south Texas, has come out 'strongly' in support of continuing the DACA program, and finding away for so called 'Dreamers' to remain legally in the U.S., News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, who heads the coalition, says, due to the requirements of DACA, that young people adhere to the law, stay in school with good grades, or get a job, they have proven to be exactly the type of residents the US is looking for.

"These young people, by all measure, have deomnstrated they are good potential citizens here," he said.  "They know no other country than ours."

DACA, or Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals, grants immunity from deportation to people who came to the U.S. with their illegal immigrants parents when they were children.  President Trump earlier this year discontinued the Obama-era program, but called on Congress to come up with a solution to the status of DACA recipients.  There are about 125,000 'Dreamers' in Texas, and about 850,000 nationwide.

The issue was left hanging in the temporary budget resolution bill Congress approved before Christmas, but will be a top priority next month.

"I realize that some people are saying, 'hey, they came here illegally'," Mayor Saenz said.  "Yes, but it was not based on their consent, they were children.  So if there is any exception, this is the exception."

DACA supporters point out that with Texas essentially at full employment, pulled trained, educated people out of the workforce and deporting them makes no sense, and would leave many employers and industries crippled.  DACA recipients, they point out, are in the ranks of the state's professionals, from physicians to engineers, as well as filling badly needed skilled positions, like the construction workers who are currently rebuilding areas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.

Mayor Saenz says if these people, who were educated at Texas taxpayers expense, were forced to leave the Texas workforce, the negative impact to the state's economy is estimated at $433 billion.

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