MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Some Memphians are worried they will be deported to a country they hardly know now that President Donald Trump decided to remove a program Barack Obama put in place in 2012.
David Aguilar, 23, is living the American Dream. He came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 11. Since then he graduated from college, landed a full-time job, and bought his first house.
"I'm afraid," Aguilar said about the Trump administration's announcement about ending DACA. "I don't know what's going to happen."
All these opportunities were made possible because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. It's a program the Trump administration announced on Tuesday it's phasing out over the next six months.
"Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers and prevents human suffering," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said when explaining why the administration decided to eliminate the DACA program.
The program allowed some illegal immigr ants, brought to the U.S. as children, to avoid deportation. Therefore, giving them the chance, like David, to go to school and work. The move affects 800,000 people nationally and more than 8,000 in Tennessee. Trump's decision allows certain DACA recipients to renew their two-year permits within the next month. Others will soon be forced to leave the country. That's a scary thought for Aguilar who fears for not only himself, but for his 7-year-old son's future
"I don't think he'll have the same opportunities back in Mexico that he will have here," Aguilar said.
The focus now switches from Trump to Congress to come up with a workable solution.
Meanwhile, other Memphis leaders spoke up against Trump's decision to end the DACA program.
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said he was disappointed in the decision and vowed to continue to fight for all SCS students.
Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn), who has already filed articles of impeachment against Trump, called the president's decision "heartless."
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) said he supports Trump's plan to revise American immigration laws.