Thousands of DACA immigrants could lose protection under Trump

CHARLOTTE, NC — “There is worry and there is fear in part of our community, but also there’s a lot of strength,” said Oliver Merino with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

Oliver Merino is not only an immigrant protected under DACA, but also an advocate with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy trying to help his community, many like him who have lived here most their lives.

“I’ve been in this country for 18 years. Without DACA I was still here, still working, maybe not in the best circumstances, but still living my life and trying to do the best I can,” said Merino.

Which is why Merino says people brought here as kids and working for a better life shouldn’t be punished by losing protection. Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger disagrees.

“We can’t just isolate an emotional concern or need. We have to look at the total recognition of the problem at large,” said Rep. Pittenger.

President Trump handed the issue over to Congress, giving them six months to create new legislation or lose the DACA program entirely.

“In the Congress we have many concerns, the sanctuary cities are a major concern, laws that protect individuals who come across our border,” said Pittenger.

Merino says with Trump’s deadline they are now in a rush to get people with DACA renewed before October, otherwise, all legal protection is gone by March.

“I think the responsibility is for all us, not just Congress to act. We know that Congress doesn’t just act by itself, people have to push them sometimes,” said Merino.

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is holding two free legal clinics Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24th to help people with their DACA renewal. If they don’t get renewed by October 5th, they will lose all DACA protection on March 5th.