You are reading

Many Queens Latinos discuss uncertainty and fear at Jackson Heights town hall last night following repeal of DACA

Attorney Natalia Renta at town hall last night

Sept. 6, 2017 By Tara Law

Several members of the Queen’s Latino community gathered for a town hall in Jackson Heights last night to discuss the implications of President Trump’s order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

DACA was an executive order instituted under President Barack Obama to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived as children from deportation. DACA enabled eligible immigrants to work legally and to obtain higher education.

Trump said that Congress has six months to come up with an alternative to the program.

The meeting was hosted by civic organization Make the Road New York, which serves the Latino community in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and Long Island. Approximately 800,000 young people currently benefit from DACA nationwide.

“If DACA is taken away, I don’t know what I will do,” said DACA recipient Yatziri Tovar in a statement released by Make the Road. “I’m working two jobs to supporting my family. But Trump has decided that neither me nor my family matter to him, and that he’d rather play games with our lives.”

Standing before the gathered audience, youth organizer Antonio Alarcon said that although members of the community had always known DACA could be repealed, many had assumed they could rely on the program in the long term.

“We’ve been anxious since November, and today (Trump’s) campaign promise became reality,” he said.

Lawyers and members of Make the Road’s youth organizer group explained Trump’s decision to the audience and described what actions they might need to take going forward.

Lawyers Yasmine Farhang and Natalia Renta explained that after Tuesday, no new DACA applications would be processed, although those applications that are already pending will go forward. Those who were eligible for DACA before, but did not apply, are out of luck. DACA recipients can continue to use their work permits until they expire, and work permits that expire before March 5 can be renewed before Oct. 5.

Health program director Rebecca Telzak urged the audience to take care of themselves during stressful times. She said that Make the Road will host a support group for DACA recipients, and that the organization is ready to provide members of the community with referrals to mental health professionals.

At the end of the discussion, many important details remained uncertain. The speakers invited the audience to ask questions. One woman said that her niece, who is in college in Pennsylvania, is on DACA. What would happen to the girl’s scholarship? Renta said that it would depend on the scholarship.

When asked about the personal information that DACA applicants had handed over to the immigration authorities, Farhang shrugged.

“They say they generally won’t share personal information with ICE,” she said, referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

For now, Make the Road is focused on rallying the community. Three busloads of protesters returned to Queens Tuesday night after holding a protest in Washington. On Thursday at 5 pm, a march around Queens will begin at the Jackson Heights office.

“We’re going to continue fighting, as we have for the last 20 years,” said Alarcon. He said that although he is protected under DACA, his uncles are undocumented. “We’re not only going to be fighting for ourselves, we’re going to be fighting for our families. We were here before DACA and we’ll be here after DACA.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com

7 Comments

Click for Comments 
Harry

Ann is so right. The VAST majority of these young people are contributing to our society in wonderful ways. It makes absolutely no sense to deport them.

21
Reply
Enough Already

What do you mean”What am I going to do” how about becoming legal? Or how about going back to your home country? Your here illegally now you want rights too? You probably work 2 jobs and pay no tax. Enough already.

10
Reply
ann

They were brought here as children, so they cannot be blamed for entering illegally. In the meantime, they have studied in US schools, belonged to the community, and served in the military. At least one just died, helping rescue people stranded in Houston. Given that they have been educated and nurtured here (at considerable expense), it makes no sense to deport them, so other countries can benefit from their skills and abilities. Ignoring the humanitarian issue for a moment, this makes NO economic sense. We are throwing away a lot of human talent.

10
Reply
Annoyed

Unfortunately, they are here ILLEGALLY! No matter how “law abiding ” nor how long they have been here, they are ILLEGALLY in the country. People who came here “ILLEGALLY” after World War 2 are being deported after decades. Just by entering ILLEGALLY they broke laws. ONLY CONGRESS can make laws, not presidents, not President Obama, nor President Trump. Name a country that I can enter ILLEGALLY and demand what these people are demanding.

16
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

NYPD searching for burglary crew that targeted nearly 30 laundromats in Queens and others in Brooklyn and the Bronx

Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst are looking for three masked men who broke into Susan’s Laundromat at 85-12 Grand Ave. at around 3:15 a.m. on Monday, June 24, while a fourth member of their crew acted as a lookout near their getaway car parked in front.

The burglars stole $1,800 in cash and removed a payment machine for the laundry room continuing an undetermined amount of cash.

Law enforcement ghost car crackdowns continue with dozens of vehicles seized on Whitestone Bridge: MTA

MTA Bridge and Tunnel officers, the NYPD and law enforcement partners impounded 55 vehicles from motorists crossing into Queens on the Whitestone Bridge on Monday, July 8, as a multi-agency crackdown continued unabated.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday that through 25 joint enforcement operations focusing on ghost plates and persistent toll violators on bridges and tunnels throughout New York City, 1,540 vehicles have been impounded, 339 arrests have been made and 12,007 summonses have been issued so far this year to drivers who owe more than $12.5 million in unpaid tolls and fees.