Jan 12, 2018, 5:17 AM ET

Dreamers pin hopes on an immigration fix


For months, the futures of thousands of young immigrants illegally brought to the country as children have hung in the balance as pundits, politicians, judges and journalists have debated their fates.

Earlier this week, a federal district judge in California issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s efforts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama administration-era program that helps protect the roughly 800,000 so called "Dreamers" from deportation. It is a ruling supporters have deemed a step in the right direction.

The White House held a bipartisan meeting on Wednesday to discuss immigration reform and attempted to reach a DACA deal.

In the meantime, the "Dreamers" have not sat idly by as those in power ponder policy. They've protested in the halls of Congress and in cities across the nation demanding that their voices be heard.

Nearly six dozen "Dreamers" met with lawmakers outside the Capitol Wednesday to advocate for DACA protections.

ABC News spoke with several of the "Dreamers". Here's what they had to say.

“We fled for violence and for fear of our life”

PHOTO: Jesus Contreras, 24, was brought to the United States from Mexico by his mother when he was six years old. Jesus Contrera
Jesus Contreras, 24, was brought to the United States from Mexico by his mother when he was six years old.

Jesus Contreras a “proud Houstonian” was brought to the United States when he was six-years-old by his mother, who he says was trying to escape a violent situation with his father and the drug cartels in Mexico.

“My mom wanted a better life for me. A chance of life here in the United States,” Contreras said. “I am a proud Houstonian. A proud Texan. Most of all, I feel that this is home.”

The 24-year-old paramedic who helped give assistance during Hurricane Harvey, the most powerful storm to hit the mainland in over a decade, recalled the “heartbreak” he endured after learning about Trump’s decision to end DACA.

“I was so close to the community by helping people that were in need. And, that next day, I am being ripped apart from my community and being told, ‘yes, you have been a part of it, but now you are being taken away from it,’” Jesus lamented.

Contreras said that while he is not scheduled for any shifts at his job past Oct. 13, the date his DACA protection is expected to expire, he continues to “breathe positivity.”

Since the administration announced the end of DACA, 12,710 recipients have had their status expire, but there have also been a number of approvals for new, initial requests.

“I’m gonna go back to say goodbye”

PHOTO: Marissa Molina, 25, said her father was hungry for her success. I brought you to the next best place I could think of, the place I had always known and stood for opportunity. Marissa Molina
Marissa Molina, 25, said her father was "hungry" for her success. "I brought you to the next best place I could think of, the place I had always known and stood for opportunity."

Marissa Molina’s family made the trek from Mexico to Colorado when she was just nine-years-old.

She told ABC News her father was “hungry” for her success.

“I knew that I didn’t have the tools to give you that here,” Molina said her father stressed. “I brought you to the next best place I could think of, the place I had always known and stood for opportunity.”

Molina, 25, a former teacher who now manages community engagement for a network of schools in Denver, Colorado, has not been back to Mexico since leaving, but hopes to return someday and pay respects to her grandfather who passed.

“Someone asked me if the Dream Act passes, what are you going to do first? I said I’m gonna go back to say goodbye,” she said tearing up. “To say the goodbye I never got to say to a man that meant the world to me. I’m ready for that moment.”

News - Dreamers pin hopes on an immigration fix

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  • moving33

    These illegal immigrants were practically invited. They walked across the border and were given a job. The government knew they were here and did nothing as long as they did not break other laws. After 15 years, you decide to enforce the law. It is inhumane to play with people's lives. Give them a green card, not a path to citizenship, and fix the borders using e-verify for new employment.

  • Im_with_the_banned

    Im ok with letting the dreamer stay but we must have border security. Finish building wall/fence that Senator Barrack Obama and Senator hillary clinton voted for in 2006, end chain immigration and the lottery. Finally, dreamers will then be green card permanent residents, NOT VOTING CITIZENS. Im ok with an exception on that IF the dreamer serves in the Military, FD, or PD of their community.

  • Educated

    ....We don't NEED a wall we NEED a President.

  • Kwazie Wabbit

    Illegal means illegal, today and 24 years ago...

  • Blkhawksgrl

    How about this... get rid of sanctuary cities... who harbor criminals (we only want the best and brightest right)
    Give the Dreamers who have no criminal history the first free sweeping pass....
    At some point this cycle has to stop

  • Jeff

    We ALREADY PAID to educate these kids, so they could be American Citizens, why on earth would we deport them now??? The mistake was made years ago, it is far too late to correct it now by tossing out these kids. LET THEM STAY, deport the criminals, but NEVER Again let illegals stay for yeares ... deport illegals immediately in the future.

  • Conor Fay

    I like to be in America. Everything free in America. Drugs and gang crime in America. That's why I'm in America.

  • Chuck

    Yeah, lets send the dreamers who have gone to school, educated themselves, are doctors, nurses, lawyers and other professionals back to their original countries so that we can bring in the uneducated, hotel / motel workers that are needed at the Orange Clown facilities. That's OK. We are being lead by an Orange fool!

  • Skipper Steely

    We have become a second rate country quickly..hate, hate and hate, especially to those who are immigrants and the poor.

  • CivilDialog

    We are a compassionate country, but we are also a country of laws...The Democrats continue to "reward ILLEGAL immigrants" with protections like, DACA and Sanctuary Cities/States...Those that wish to come to American legally are welcomed with open arms, because they are following the laws!! Yes, the DACA recipients didn't make the decision to break the law and enter the U.S. ILLEGALLY, but that doesn't mean they should be rewarded...We must not continue to allow those who knowingly BREAK OUR LAWS to AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES of doing so!!

  • jake

    I bet Trump-pinatas will be selling like hot cakes in most of these s-hole countries this year.