Minnesota Immigrants voice concerns to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar

DACA Student: “I grew up in Minnesota so this state is really all I know."

Edgar Linares
February 19, 2019 - 7:26 pm

By Edgar Linares in Minneapolis

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Local immigration leaders across Minnesota met with U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday in downtown Minneapolis to talk about issues and concerns affecting the immigration community. Omar quickly took aim at President Donald Trump and his administration.

“Within this administration they are determined to fight us and make sure that immigrants in this country never really feel like they are part of the American society,” said Rep. Omar.

The discussion included the Muslim ban, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), family separation and more. The stories that people shared during the meeting brought a voice to Minnesota’s immigration population.

Jackie Mendoza is a DACA recipient; her parents brought her to the U.S. illegally at the age of 18-months from Mexico. DACA protects nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. brought illegally as small children. In 2017, President Trump moved to end the program.

“I grew up in Minnesota so this state is really all I know. I have no memories of Mexico or anything like that,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza dreams of becoming a U-S Citizen and said her family lives in constant fear.

“I was seven years old when my father was pulled over and I’m supposed to think my family is protected, it’s nothing like that. Being pulled over is my family’s biggest fear,” said Mendoza. “I was lucky my dad wasn’t picked up, but not all stories end that way.”

Mendoza said she’s the only person in her household with DACA, and instead of worrying about homework or grades; she’s concerned about her future.

Another major issue the end of the Deferred Enforced Departure program. Last year, President Trump approved a yearlong end to the federal program; the deadline is March 31, 2019.

There are 4,000 Liberian immigrants in Minnesota under the DED program. At the end of March, they could be forced to leave the U.S., if the program is not renewed.

“I’ve been working with Wells Fargo for fourteen years,” said Linda Clark, whose part of the DED program. “After the 31st, I will have no more job, and I will just be here. It’s just like they’re pulling out our life support.”

Clark who’s lived in Minnesota 19 years said she and other Liberians are at the mercy of President Trump who could renew the program.

“I’ve built a home here. I’ve worked, I’ve paid my taxes and I’ve just lived a normal life. I’ve never gotten in trouble with the law,” said Clark. “The only thing we are asking for is for permanent residency.”

President’s George W. Bush and President Barack Obama extended DED, but it appears it will end with President Trump.

As for the DACA program, it will continue through 2019.