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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was a program created in 2012 to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Yazmin Cruz

Williamson County Schools senior Jacqueline Castro wanted to find a way to help families when she saw the news about phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. 

“This is more than a problem,” she said. “Thousands and thousands are affected by this decision. Governors and and leaders of this country don’t see the humanity of this. If you think about it, this program just helps people to give something back. They are just trying to make this community better. I am passionate about this.”

► More: Tennessee immigrants react with tears and resolve as Trump moves to end DACA

President Donald Trump is considering ending the program, which provided young immigrants a way to work and attend school legally. According to the Migration Policy Institute, around 9,300 Tennesseans have been accepted into the program. 

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In response, Castro decided to set up an informational meeting on Thursday night for families in the community to learn about the short renewal window and how it relates to work permits in the future. A colorful chalkboard with notes in Spanish greeted recipients as they arrived. A representative from the Tennessee Immigrants, Rights and Refuge Coalition explained in detail to families about the announcement and took their questions. 

► More: Trump, Congressional Dem leaders vow to discuss DACA, border security

“Several people just need help, and if you can help them you, you should,” Castro said. “That’s why I took the decision to organize this. If they are here, great. Then they have the information and talk about it with others who couldn’t be here.”

Standing before the group, TIRRC’s youth organization coordinator Cesar Bautista went through multiple slides, explaining to look for DACA recipients expiration dates, the reapplication process with the Department of Homeland Security and travel restrictions out of the country. 

“As DACA is fading away, they are at risk of losing everything,” Bautista said. “There’s a large population of the immigrant community here and want to reach every immigrant. Franklin is just one of the cities, and we don’t want anyone confused with what is happening. We want to give them a voice, and for them to be heard.” 

Reach Emily West at erwest@tennessean.com; at 615-613-1380; or on Twitter at @emwest22. To register for The Tennessean alderman candidate forum, go to forum.tennessean.com. 

 

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