DACA conversation in Carlisle comes as Trump considers pathway to citizenship for Dreamers

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — For the first time, President Donald Trump said he’s open to a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. It comes the same night as a community conversation about undocumented immigrants and DACA in Cumberland County.

Maria Hernandez works with Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania.

“The economy goes down,” said Hernandez. “Who do we blame? The immigrant.”

Hernandez was one of the panelists at YWCA Carlisle’s community conversation about DACA, immigrants, and refugees.

“It is nearly impossible to get any sort of social services,” said John Leedock of Catholic Charities, who was also a panelist.

The discussion put on by the Radical Justice Committee aimed to educate Midstate residents of all political views.

“You can’t learn when you’re in a homogeneous situation,” said Robin Scaer, YWCA Carlisle’s executive director. “Hearing from those around you who have those different experiences, then that education and that awareness really helps to bring about a better empathy, understanding.”

There are about 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, including about 5,000 in Pennsylvania.

The government shutdown ended with Senate Republicans agreeing to work toward a solution for DACA recipients. However, with the program’s deadline approaching in March, its future is still uncertain.

Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying….with a big additional focus put on Military Strength and Border Security. The Dems have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!”

Wednesday, the president said he was open to a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

“If they do a great job, I think it’s a nice thing to have an incentive of after a period of years being able to become a citizen,” Trump said.

“They’re people who have work permits, who are providing productive programs and services,” Scaer said.

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