Impact of 'DACA' halt looms over San Diego recipients, businesses

Posted at 7:02 PM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 22:07:16-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Trump White House signaled an end to "DACA," the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, on Tuesday but after an outpouring of protests, such as we saw at the Embarcadero last night the president said he believes Congress will come up with a compromise.

Should the program end, that could mean strong impact to San Diego's economy.

Attorneys specializing in immigration law say anyone who's part of the DACA program should file again.

RELATED: 'DACA' supporters rally in Escondido against Trump's decision

"If they qualify, absolutely; at a minimum, it gives them another two years of work permit," Maria Chavez, and associate immigration attorney, said.

That should give Dreamers hope but there is also fear that by filling out that paperwork, it opens the door to Big Brother swooping down on those names and addresses.

"In theory, yes, the government could do that but in practice, it has not happened," Chavez said. "The government said they're not going to do that unless the person has previous criminal history or previous deportation."

RELATED: San Diego Dreamers 'facing nightmare' after President Trump's DACA decision

Chavez says if an application is in process in the system, there's no refund. She's personally invested in finding a solution to the immigration problems.

"It's really hard to see my family, friends, and loved ones potentially lose everything that they have. They came out of the shadows on a government promise and now they don't know what's going to happen and it's scary for them," Chavez said. "It breaks my heart to see them go through this."

The receptionist at the Jacobs and Schlesinger Law Firm is Lucero Maganda.

She's a "dreamer," one of those DACA recipients who could be deported if the program isn't replaced in the next six months.

RELATED: Poll: Many San Diegans believe Trump administration made wrong decision to rescind DACA program

Those in the office here in downtown San Diego are worried.

"The whole team is devastated. People were crying, multiple people, not just the person with DACA. It's very upsetting," Ginger Jacobs, a San Diego law firm partner, said. 

There are eleven employees in the firm; lean and mean and the workload is specific.

"It would be a huge hardship; we've invested a lot of time and money into training her. We have specialized systems here; she's trained how to use them, it's not easy to replicate," Jacobs said.

RELATED: San Diego Unified School District vows to protect students after DACA decision

Specializing in immigration law these lawyers are deeply involved in the DACA program and wanting a compromise in Congress. Jacobs hopes the protests, like this one on the Embarcadero Tuesday, will convince our lawmakers they need to work together to find a solution.

"I hope they realize that our community supports these dreamers. These are not other people's kids; they're our kids. They grew up in our community, went to our schools. These are our San Diego kids," Jacobs said.