In response to the Trump administration’s decision to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the Albany County Executive is pledging his full support to helping local residents in the program.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Obama-era DACA program will shut down in six months to give Congress time to find a legislative solution for the immigrants. That hasn't sat well with Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, a Democrat. "All’s they know is their life in America. That's all they know. And then all of sudden they wake up one morning, and we're saying, 'Hey, guess what? You may all be deported.' How's that work? Isn't that what the American Dream's about? Isn't that what makes this country so great? Is because we stand together. Embrace different cultures. Embrace immigrants."
McCoy has forged a partnership with groups including the Regional Immigration Assistance Center, Albany Law School and the Legal Project, to maintain a united front on behalf of DACA grantees.
McCoy pointed out there are "42,000 DACA people" living in the state who have jobs, own homes and are upstanding members of their respective communities. He adds those who originally qualified for the program had to be here before 2007 and were thoroughly vetted.
Rosa Luna is a freshman at Hudson Valley Community College. Her parents brought her to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 2. The DACA grantee has lived in Albany as long as she can remember. She's worried her driver's license might get suspended. "My goal is to go to medical school and become a doctor, 'cause I would like to help other people. So I think that everyone under the DACA program, and everyone here has a lot of... excuse me... everyone has a future and a lot of goals that would like to get accomplished. So that I believe that everyone should have a fair chance... (fades)"
McCoy: "She worries not just about losing her status and going to school and being deported. Was the fact that just being a normal kid and gettin' in trouble, 'cause being a father of three, you know, and having a 22-year-old, a 20- and a 13-year-old, kids trip up all the time in life. They make mistakes. That's why we did 'Raise the Age.' But in her case, there's no raise her age, there's no second chance. If they get in normal trouble like any other American kid, they could lose everything in this country and be deported."
Luna: "This is my home. This is where I live and I grew up here, so it would be very hard to even imagine going back to Mexico 'cause I've heard it's a very different living style and I just wouldn't know where to find myself in."
McCoy says the country owes it to the DACA grantees to give them the opportunity to live the American Dream. "We're at a crossroads in this nation. If we're not careful, when we get judged in our history books, it's not gonna be good."
McCoy has helped set up a hotline for anyone with questions, concerns, fears regarding their future in America... "518.447.4890. And I'm gonna say that again… it's 518.447.4890."
McCoy vows he'll "continue to fight for every single resident of Albany County."