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article imageUndocumented 'Dreamers' worry about their future

By Javier TOVAR (AFP)     Sep 5, 2017 in World

Facing potential deportation from the United States -- for many the only country they have ever known -- young people known as "Dreamers" voiced concern Tuesday about their fate.

"I came to the US from Mexico with my parents when I was nine months old," said Ivan Ceja, 26, after the Justice Department announced it was ending an amnesty for 800,000 people brought to the United States illegally as minors.

"I've been here for 25 years, since I was a baby," Ceja, a computer science student, told AFP by telephone.

"I'm very vulnerable to deportation without DACA," Ceja said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which was rescinded by President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday.

DACA, put in place by Barack Obama in 2012, protected undocumented immigrants who arrived as children from deportation and allowed them to work and attend school.

The so-called "Dreamers" now have between six months and just over two years until they are declared illegal US residents and subject to potential deportation.

Ceja, the co-founder of, an immigrants rights group, said that if he was deported "I would do whatever it takes to come back, take the risks to cross the border.

"This is the only country I know," Ceja said. "My future is here. I'm not going to go without a fight."

Martin Batalla Vidal, 27, explained how DACA has benefitted him, during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday organized by the National Immigration Law Center.

"DACA has really changed my life for the better and allowed me to pursue my dreams," said Batalla Vidal, who arrived in New York from Mexico when he was seven years old.

Batalla Vidal, who is studying nursing, said the repeal of DACA, however, had him thinking "what will happen when I graduate?"

"Will I be able to actually work in the field I studied for?" he asked.

- 'You are hunted' -

"Dreamers" Angel Romero and his sister Jennifer were among some 200 demonstrators who attended a protest outside the White House in Washington as Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA.

The pair, who were brought to the United States from Mexico by their parents when they were children, expressed concern about being forced to leave the United States.

A woman holds a sign condemning the Trump administration's decision to rescind the DACA program...
A woman holds a sign condemning the Trump administration's decision to rescind the DACA program granting amnesty for 800,000 young immigrants brought to the US illegally as minors

"That is a fear for me -- that I might have to leave the country and go back to my home country," said Angel Romero.

"I was brought here at the age of two and so I have no recollection of my home country," he said.

"I have very few memories of (Mexico)," added Jennifer Romero, "and we really don't know where we would go."

Greisa Martinez Rosas, 28, who was born in Mexico and now lives in Dallas, Texas, also attended the protest outside the White House.

Martinez Rosas, who works for the United We Dream association, said she came to the United States when she was eight years old.

"I'm part of this society," she said. "I came to this country knowing that I would live a better life.

"My parents are undocumented and living like that is not normal," she said. "You are hunted by (immigration) agents, deportation agents and by police.

"You can't do the things normal people do," she said.

Justino Mora, 28, was brought to the United States at the age of 11 by his mother, who fled a life of poverty and domestic violence in Mexico.

Mora said he was not surprised by the move by President Trump, who campaigned for the White House on a pledge to be tough on immigration.

"But we cannot give up," he said. "This is the beginning of a new battle for our rights."

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