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'The weight of the world off my shoulders:' WI DACA recipients react to Supreme Court Decision

NOW: ’The weight of the world off my shoulders:’ WI DACA recipients react to Supreme Court Decision

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – The U.S. Supreme Court decision to block the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program gave the beneficiaries of the Obama-era program a sigh of relief, but they recognize there is more work to be done to help the immigrant community.

“It’s just like I felt the weight of the world off my shoulders,” Alejandra González, a DACA recipient in the Milwaukee area told CBS 58.

The decision from the court was a long time coming, but the reality of the decision took a moment to sink in for others.

“I was in complete shock, to be completely honest,” Yesenia Villalpando-Torres, a Dane County resident and DACA recipient said.

“A lot of anxiety off my back and off my mind,” Julio César Gumeta Ramos said in sharing what the decision meant for him.

The 5-4 decision from the nation’s highest court gives some stability to those whose lives have been in a state of limbo since childhood.

“I can continue renewing,” González said. “I can continue to have protective status and living my life without fear.”

In Wisconsin, DACA recipients contribute about $24.6 million in state and local taxes alone every year, according to data from a report from the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute.

The program opens up opportunities for DACA recipients – who were brought to the U.S. when they were young – that they otherwise would not have.

“It gives them the ability to move forward, whether it’s on their education, their career goals, their personal lives, it just allows them that ability,” González said.

But to many, the program is not a permanent solution and the immigrant community hopes the Supreme Court decision can build momentum towards more reform.

“The announcement that we got today is what we wanted, but the work does not stop here,” Villalpando-Torres said in an interview.

Ramos echoed that sentiment.

“We want to fight for a clean DREAM Act and a pathway to citizenship for every single one of us and our parents as well because our entire families have sacrificed a lot to get here.”

The so-called DREAMers – called that after the DREAM Act by which DACA was enacted – say they hope the victory in the Supreme Court has ripple effects beyond their own community and sends a message to the rest of the country.

“DREAMers are part of the American fabric, we are Americans, and that we are here to stay,” González said.

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