There are an estimated 10,500 people with DACA status in Utah. That’s the legal protection for those who came to the U.S. illegally before age 16. President Trump announced plans to end that program in September. On Thursday, Congresswoman Mia Love spoke about legal alternatives that are being proposed.
At the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in downtown Salt Lake, Love recited the Oath of Allegiance along with ten children who recently received US citizenship.
She also took questions about DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and the legislation she supports to replace it.
"I was hoping to have DACA taken care of by the end of the year," Love said. "I’ve gotten a commitment that it’s going to be something that we take care of right at the beginning of the year."
She's supporting the Congressional alternative called Recognizing America’s Children or the RAC Act. She says it would protect DACA recipients, who are also known as "Dreamers."
"It does take in the Dreamers, the children that were brought here by parents through no act of their own," she said.
RAC isn’t the only proposal being considered. Alonso Reyna Rivarola is the Director of the University of Utah Dream Center. He has DACA status and supports the long-standing and more generous alternative called the Dream Act, which is supported by many Democrats.
"To qualify for the Dream Act versus the RAC Act, the Dream Act allows people who came to the US under the age of 18 to qualify, versus RAC which is under the age of 16. So just by that we are losing a bunch of people already," Rivarola said.
Congress, including Utah’s delegation, are split on which proposal to support, and time is running out for DACA recipients. For some, their protected status will end in early March, making them eligible for deportation.