'No permanency': Despite legislative setbacks, North Carolina 'Dreamer' stays hopeful

DJ Simmons, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Lifestyles

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Yahel Flores arrived at the White House last summer he reflected on what was a “bittersweet moment” in his life.

Flores was one of several attendees for the 10-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He recalled, while his undocumented status caused him to lose college scholarship opportunities, he gained in the protections provided through DACA.

In February, the Dream Act again was reintroduced by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. If passed, the legislation would provide the pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers.” At least eleven versions of the Act have been introduced since 2001. Each has failed to move forward.

Despite the setbacks, some 24,000 DACA recipients in North Carolina — including Flores — continue to push forward.

“It’s put a lot of hindrance on my personal and professional career,” said Flores, the Carolinas Director for the American Business Immigration Coalition. “I have to tread very carefully on what I want to do and how I want to do things.”

With the reintroduced legislation, Flores says he has a renewed focus.


First launched in 2012, DACA allows young immigrants living in the country undocumented who were brought here as children to remain in the U.S. Recipients are often referred to as “Dreamers,” based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act.

Last October, judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against DACA. That decision sent it back to a lower court judge, who now ruled the program can remain temporarily, with limitations, while he reviews Biden administration revisions.

All parties involved in the DACA court case are expected to turn in written briefs next month. A hearing will be scheduled soon after, according to the National Immigration Law Center.

Recently, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein joined attorney generals from more than 20 states in defending the program. The state officials filed an opposing brief asking the judge to consider the damage that would be done by ending DACA.


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