Update: At a White House news briefing on Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump hadn't made an official decision on DACA and that he wouldn't make an announcement until Tuesday of next week.
Jose Patiño says his world could shatter today.
The 28-year-old Gilbert resident is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which has protected almost 800,000 young adult unauthorized immigrants like him from deportation while allowing them to work legally in the U.S. since 2012.
But Thursday, a senior administration official told Fox News that Trump could decide to rescind DACA as early as today.
"Immediately, I'd probably have to lose my job," Patiño said of the potential end of DACA. "Secondly, I own a house, so I'd have to sign a citizen to the title. And third, I'd have to find a way to try and survive without a job."
And despite rumors that the White House was looking to extend the September 5 deadline, the latest piece of administration gossip indicates Trump is poised to make the move soon, possibly today. The timing of the disconcerting news dump before a holiday weekend would be particularly in character for an administration that just last week announced another hit on immigrants, the pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, late Friday evening.
And with the DACA's potential demise comes a wave of anxiety over Arizona's Dreamers and activists. But they're not suffering in silence.
Immigrants, educators, and allies have been gathering in front of a local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Central Avenue in Phoenix from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. since Tuesday making their voices heard.
On Thursday night, Reyna Montoya, a DACA recipient, and the founder of immigrant activist group
"The Government made a promise to us. Made a promise that if we would come out of the shadows — if we would come forward and let them know who we were — they would not deport us," Montoya said. "Now they have all our records.
Patiño feels that sense of community too. He's been living in America since he was six years old.
Now a loan officer and the director of campaigns at Aliento, he says he’s been fighting to stop the deportation of Dreamers like himself since
Back then, he was pushing for Congress to pass a version of the DREAM Act. The original DREAM Act — Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors— legislation was first introduced in 2001. It aimed to give undocumented children a path to citizenship, but it stalled in Congress. Then former President Barack Obama brought DACA into the picture in 2012.
It changed Patiño's life. With the help of the work authorization portion of the program, Patiño says he got his teaching certificate and taught high school math at Agua Fria High School in Avondale for two years.
“Under DACA, we’d be able to fulfill our career dreams,” Patiño said. “I was able to become a teacher for a couple years and I have so many friends following their dreams — building a home, building a family. It’s devastating that over night that could be taken from you. There’s no need for that. There’s no reason it should end.”
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And yet the end could be near. And Patiño and other activists and allies plan to make the most of the hours or days before the potential curtain call of the program that made it feel like the show could go on.
That's why they spent their Thursday evening marching in front of the ICE building chanting that the people hold the power in Spanish and English.
Both Patiño and Montoya say they still have hope the president will hear their concerns and hold off on revoking DACA. If the White House does move forward with ending DACA, Patiño says he and other activists want to work with local elected officials and members Congress to create a more permanent solution for immigrants.
“There are a lot of people I know who are breaking down and some are crying,” Patiño says. “A lot of people are angry. … A lot of us are just really tired and worn down, but we want to fight. We believe that we can make a change. We want to do something.”