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With Trump to decide fate of DACA, where do Florida officials stand?

A lot of silence as debate heats up<br>
"Dreamers" (The Associated Press)
"Dreamers" (The Associated Press)
Published Sep. 1, 2017
Updated Sep. 1, 2017

President Trump could announce a decision as early as Friday on the Obama-era program that gave work permits to young immigrants and protected them from deportation. Speculation is mounting he’ll make good on a campaign pledge, ending DACA.

About 800,000 “Dreamers” nationally would be affected, some 33,000 in Florida.

What’s the Florida reaction?

Democrats have called on Trump to side with the immigrants, brought to the country illegally as children by their parents.

So have a handful of Republicans, including Jeb Bush and Miami Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart.

There are grassroots conservatives who think Trump should kill the program, and one member of the House delegation agrees.

“DACA is an unconstitutional program that must end,” said Rep. Francis Rooney of Naples. “As John Adams said, ‘We are a nation of laws, not men.’ The fact that these young persons were enticed here under false pretenses is a huge human tragedy. I believe that a phase out of resident status for the people who are here and stopping any new participant entries is best.”

We asked all Republican House members for their stance and only Rooney responded as of 11 a.m.

Sen. Marco Rubio, who has clout with Trump, has called DACA unconstitutional but has said there should be a legislative fix. Still, Rubio has remained on the sidelines as some of his colleagues work on a bill.

Ros-Lehtinen, Curbelo and Diaz-Balart, meanwhile, are working on House bills that on their own face long odds. DACA could be used as a bargaining chip as Congress faces numerous issues on its return, but as it stands now, 33,000 Florida Dreamers have reason to worry.

“It’s scary and sad,” said Andrea Seabra, 30, who came to Florida from Peru with her mother at age 11, overstaying a visa. She graduated cum laude from Saint Leo University in 2016, and this spring she got a job at a major accounting firm.

“At the end of the day, I don’t have legal status other than DACA,” said Seabra, who lives near St. Petersburg. “I have friends who have been here since they were 2 months old, babies, and they don’t know anything but the United States.

“I could lose my job because my work permit would be revoked, my driver’s license would be revoked and I would live in fear of deportation. Everything I know could disappear.”


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