University parents show support for DACA

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Mid-South university leaders are putting their voice behind DACA, formally called Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.

It's a policy that shields immigrants who came to this country as children, and many of them are now in college.

Halloran Centre hosted a panel Wednesday night aimed at finding ways to keep families together despite the White House crackdown.

Their smiles light up a room. They've called the U.S. home for years, and it surely is the place they plan to stay.

The dozens who came out Wednesday all came supporting one common goal – protecting young immigrants from deportation.

"If DACA were to end, I wouldn't be able to go to school anymore, and I also work so that would take away my chances of working here," said DACA recipient Chantel Barcenas.

This comes after President Trump's administration ended DACA back in September, but allowed qualified recipients a two-year phase-out period.

That's why several Memphis university presidents signed a letter after Wednesday's panel, urging Congress to support the proposed Dream Act to try and intervene.

"In Memphis there are estimates of about 2,000, so those are local students who actually contribute to the local economy," said Gina John of Latino Memphis.

Barcenas spoke on the panel Wednesday, discussing next steps for immigrants in Memphis. She's a DACA recipient from Mexico and attends Christian Brothers University.

"Taking it away was very disappointing, and knowing that it might be gone, it's just a very sad thing," Barcenas said.

On the other hand, President Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise to crack down on immigration.

But for many, it's scary.

"Also break their families apart, you're not really supporting them or their education, you're not allowing them to be the best they can be," John said.

People at the panel are urging everyone all to write letters to Congress, encouraging them to intervene.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.