- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Immigrants’ rights advocates, labor union members and Nevada officials on Tuesday vowed to fight back against President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

About two dozen people, including young immigrants and state lawmakers, gathered in Las Vegas hours after the Trump administration announced changes to the program, giving Congress six months to find a legislative solution.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, has provided a reprieve from deportation to more than 13,000 so-called dreamers in Nevada.

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“DACA being taken away is something that many of us knew would come,” said Astrid Silva, who was brought to the U.S. illegally as a 4-year-old and spoke during the Democratic National Convention last year. “DACA was always temporary and now we have to continue fighting for a piece of legislation that is going to change permanently the law that will affect our community.”

New applications will be halted for President Barack Obama’s DACA program, which shielded nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation and gave them the ability to work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits.

The administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program.

Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation decried the administration’s move. U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who for some time lived in the U.S. illegally, described the administration’s move as “inhumane and un-American” and said he is determined to find a permanent solution for the young immigrants.

“I was a dreamer before the term dreamer even existed. My family came here with a visa, but we overstayed our visas, and for a certain amount of time, I was here undocumented,” he told The Associated Press. “So, for me, this fight is personal because I feel the plight of these young immigrants.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in a statement said the decision affecting the so-called dreamers is guided by “xenophobia and myths,” not sound policy, while U.S. Rep. Dina Titus characterized the move as “a disastrous mistake.”

One of the largest private employers in Nevada, casino-resort operator MGM Resorts International, also weighed in on Trump’s decision, urging Congress to act swiftly on the matter.

“MGM Resorts continues to stand by these individuals, and we urge Congress to move quickly to address this so that the young people affected have stability for their future,” CEO Jim Murren said in a statement. “We also urge Congress to take up long overdue comprehensive immigration reform that supports a strong workforce while balancing America’s national security.”


Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO

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