MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Three Memphis college presidents are putting their names on an effort to prevent President Donald Trump's request to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act (DACA).
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer, presidents of hundreds of U.S. colleges urged the lawmakers to pass legislation to protect Dreamers, or people brought to the United States as children and are allowed to stay because of DACA.
"It not only affects what my job prospects are, but also my mental health," Dreamer Diana Azcarate said.
Azcarate's dream life has turned into a nightmare ever since President Trump declared he was getting rid of DACA in September. She moved from Mexico to Memphis when she was seven, and the Obama-era program allowed the 22-year-old to get a driver's license, a job, and soon she'll graduate from Rhodes College with an anthropology degree.
"When DACA originally passed, I was very relieved because I was about to graduate from high school, and it gave me a little bit of hope for my future," she said.
Local university presidents want others to feel that hope.
Rhodes College, LeMoyne-Owen College, and Christian Brothers University are all on the list of colleges signed on the plea, which you can read below. (Note: LeMoyne-Owen College does not appear on the list below, but college officials said they had pledged to be part of the movement).
"That lets us know that our institution is standing behind us," Azcarate said.
Congress is now working on a plan that could decide the fate of Azcarate and 700,000 other Dreamers like her.