DACA applicants brace for budget decision in Washington

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It's another intense day for DACA applicants. Her future, along with 40,000 DACA recipients in Illinois, now depends on what happens in Washington D.C. Friday. (WLS)

It's another intense day for DACA applicants like Ana Niño Flores. Her future, along with 40,000 DACA recipients in Illinois, now depends on what happens in Washington D.C. Friday.

"Sometimes I can't follow what's happening. I just get so emotional," Flores said. "Personally, where I stand, I just have to have faith. If it's not today, maybe next week."

Flores and other DACA applicants are waiting on congressional leaders in Washington as the threat of a government shutdown hangs in the balance. Although there are many factions to the debate, some Democrats want any legislation to avoid a shutdown to include a DACA deal.

The Obama-era Deferred Action for Children Arrivals allows children who were brought to this country illegally to remain in the country and work. Last week, a federal judge ruled that the program must continue under terms in place before the Trump administration rescinded the program last Fall. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to review the judge's decision.

"It's just frustrating. Today is a good day. I hope for the best," Flores said. "I'm hopeful."

Flores is a transportation engineer, a 2015 graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and an immigrant who was illegally brought to the U.S. when she was 5 years old.


Today, her future in this country depends on politicians on Capitol Hill.

"If nothing happens today, I'm hopeful that something is soon to come. I think that's all we can ask for at this point," she said.

Now 24, Nino Flores works full-time at a consulting engineering firm, working on transportation projects. She's worked here two and a half years. As a DACA recipient, she wants a long-term solution for all the young immigrants.

"We would love to be given a shot. We're here. We've been doing this so far...until this day," she said.

Laura Mendoza, who works for The Resurrection Project, has been following every political nuance of the debate this week.

"It's chaotic. It's unfortunate that this is happening with people's lives," she said. "But it's also our democracy... having conversations to come up with compromises."

"We're expecting something to happen before midnight, but we don't know what that is. We're watching our Twitter feeds, we're listening to what our delegations in D.C. have to say," said Lawrence Benito, CEO, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

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societyimmigrationimmigration reformdacagovernmentgovernment shutdownChicagoWest Loop
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