(HOUSTON) — A Houston teen whose home was flooded by Harvey said her family could face further devastation if President Trump ends the DACA program for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Yazmin Medrano, 15, came to the United States with her family when she was 5 years old and just applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children to apply for work permits and deferral of any deportation actions.
Trump has said he will announce early this week whether he will end or continue the program initiated by former President Obama.
Medrano said her family is already suffering from major flooding damage to their home, on which they had just recently paid off the mortgage.
“Our house is just crumbling down,” she told ABC News. “It’s sad.”
Medrano said she dreams of becoming a surgeon, but now she fears she may be forced to leave the country where she has lived most of her life.
“My biggest fear is for us to get deported — for my family, all the hard work that they have done, to just get thrown away,” Medrano said.
Houston’s police chief, Art Acevedo, echoed those concerns while visiting evacuees at the city’s convention center.
“There are so many homes that have been damaged and some beyond repair in our state, and then you add on top of that all the issues with the immigration debate and all the ugliness of that,” Acevedo told Raddatz.
“I was mentioning to somebody — it’s a state official that was pushing this anti-immigration, ugly narrative — and I think I asked him, ‘Now, what are you going to tell the American people when we scared away so many hardworking people?’ ”
Raddatz asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about Medrano.
He said the 15-year-old’s situation shows that the United States has “had an absolutely broken immigration system for decades.”
“This can has been kicked down the road for far too long, and what you’re talking about are very real-life consequences of this system,” Abbott said.
“Until Congress, until the United States truly reforms our immigration system with standards that everybody knows and understands that are enforced and applied, we will continue to deal with these very challenging circumstances,” he said.
“So what would you say to that 15-year-old?” Raddatz asked Abbott.
“I would say to that 15-year-old that we need to ensure that we keep America the kind of country that people want to come to,” he said. “The best place to get into is the United States of America. And we need to make sure we keep America that shining city on the hill that people aspire to.”
Raddatz pressed, “So it’s not with someone like her here?”
“Well, it’s going to be a standard that ensures that America will be the place that people aspire to. And there will be ways — if Congress reforms the immigration system, there will be ways which America needs to continue to attract immigration through the legal system,” the Texas governor said.
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