North Carolina DACA recipients, activists react to Supreme Court ruling defending program

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In a 5-4 ruling, the US Supreme Court found that the Secretary of Homeland Security did violate the Administrative Procedure Act in an attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), is a policy that allowed immigrants who were brought to the US as children to remain in the country. President Barack Obama created the program in 2012.

"It was a relief. We were expecting the opposite and were all ready for something completely different," said said Maria Mayorga, a DACA recipient. "However, we are not 100% happy. We are glad that the Supreme Court made the right decision, but there's a lot more that needs to be done."

RELATED: NC 'Dreamers' nervously wait as Supreme Court hears DACA arguments

She moved to the US in 2003 when she was 12 years old, spending the first part of her life in Nicaragua. Mayorga now works as an activist, championing a path to citizenship for DACA recipients--a pathway that does not currently exist within the bounds of the program.

"DACA was a band-aid that, again, it was won through the sacrifices of impacted youth back then," Mayorga said. "Now we're going to continue to fight for more ample reform."

It costs about $500 to apply for DACA, a costly fee that can be a burden on families.

Eliazar Posada works with the advocacy group El Centro Hispano in Durham, and assists grantees with applications.

"Many of them have graduated college. Many of them are still in college as we speak. Many of them have been able to start their own businesses," said Posada.
North Carolina has about 27,000 DACA grantees, many of whom were anxiously awaiting this ruling. Angelica Davila, who moved to the US from Mexico when she was 6 years old, was elated when she heard the news.

"I was crying. I cried with my brother. I was really happy," said Davila.

She is now a contractor for Duke Energy and lives in the Triangle.

"When I used to sit in the office, I was sometimes amazed with what this opportunity has brought me and how far I've gone with it. And without it, I don't think I'd be sitting there," Davila said.

President Trump shared his reaction to Thursday's decision in a series of tweets, writing in one: "The DACA decision, while a highly political one, and seemingly not based on the law, gives the President of the United States far more power than EVER anticipated. Nevertheless, I will only act in the best interest of the United States of America!"

In a follow-up tweet, the President added: "As President of the United States, I am asking for a legal solution on DACA, not a political one, consistent with the rule of law. The Supreme Court is not willing to give us one, so now we have to start this process all over again."
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