“We want you here,” Oklahomans speak out against decision to end DACA program

OKLAHOMA CITY - Local school boards are speaking out against President Trump's decision to rescind the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

The announcement drew dozens of people to the Santa Fe South School to protest the decision and defend the nearly 6,900 young Oklahomans threatened.

Among those who spoke was DACA recipient Alejandro Raigoza Munoz.

"I learned I was born in Mexico in the sixth grade," he said.

Unable to apply for a job or get a driver's license, there were limitations in the reality Raigoza Munoz and hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers have had to live with.

"When people know you’re undocumented, they give you this other look, like you’re not human. Like you don’t mean anything to here. Like you’re not valued," he said.

But in 2012, Raigoza Munoz became one of about 800,000 protected recipients of DACA.

"It felt dignified. I felt like a human being, honestly," he said.

But on Tuesday, President Trump ordered the end of the program and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the government is no longer accepting new applications.

"People think they’re children but they’re really young adults," President Trump said. "I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly."

Now, Congress has six months to come up with a solution before the program is phased out in March 2018.

Even with a Republican majority, they can’t agree on things they’re supposed to agree on," said Santa Fe South Schools Superintendent Chris Brewster. "This is such a divisive issue, that it may be very challenging for them to come to terms."

Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted, "Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit the issue!"

School and religious leaders, students, local legislators and many others in the community are calling for Congress to do what they argue is what's best for the students and let them stay in the only home they know.

"The easy answer to this is 'it’s not my problem,' but I challenge you to put yourself in these young people’s shoes for just a minute," said Oklahoma City Schools Board of Education Vice Chair Gloria Torres.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association, OU, and others are arguing many recipients are striving to become physicians or teachers at a time when there is a deficit of both.

Raigoza Munoz and another protest speaker and DACA recipient Brisa Ledezma have plans to become educators.

"I wanted to be a teacher," Ledezma said. "I wanted to somehow give back to my community what they gave me."

The Oklahoma City School Board is also supporting its DACA students, reassuring families the kids will be safe at school.

"Immigration services are not going to be allowed on school property without the proper search warrant," said Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education member Mark Mann. "It is safe to come to school. We want you here. We want you to learn."