By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4)– Coloradans who’ve been spared deportation under “Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals” or DACA say they won’t go back to living in the shadows.
They rallied at the state Capitol as President Donald Trump nears a decision on whether to keep the President Barack Obama-era program. It shields hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the U.S. unlawfully from deportation.
DACA recipient Monica Acosta had a message for Trump, “You have picked the wrong people to mess with” she said to cheers during Friday’s rally.
Immigrant rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, joined the so-called DREAMERS at the rally.
“Law abiding dreamers deserve the chance to realize their potential in the only country they’ve known,” said Hickenlooper.
Colorado Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran said they stand united against a repeal, “If Donald Trump repeals DACA, he is on the wrong side of history.”
But 10 Republican attorney generals from other states say if Mr. Trump doesn’t roll back the program by next Tuesday, they’ll sue on grounds Pres. Obama overstepped his authority when he enacted immigration policy.
They’ve already won a similar suit. Colorado Republican Congressman Mike Coffman says Congress needs to pass a bill immediately extending the program and he plans to deploy a rare procedural move to force a vote.
“If Democrats hold firm and there are enough Republicans with the Democrats to pass this bill and get it to the Senate, I believe it will pass the Senate and get to the president’s desk,” said Coffman.
He says he also believes Mr. Trump will sign it because his opposition to DACA is less about the program and more about how it was enacted. Coffman says 12 Republicans have committed to joining him in getting the bill to the floor.
In Colorado, the fate of the program will impact 17,000 DREAMERS including Salvador Hernandez.
“It was a step out of the shadows, realizing what it’s like to live without fear, and it felt good and I’m not going back to that,” said Hernandez.
Some DREAMERS are planning a school walkout in Denver on Tuesday as a show of solidarity. That’s the deadline for the lawsuit and the day Congress goes back to work. Mr. Trump has said he may announce his decision this weekend or even Labor Day.