President Trump expected to halt DACA program, Arizona recipients worried

Posted at 9:29 PM, Aug 31, 2017

Countless families are holding their collective breath over reports that President Donald Trump could announce an end to the policy known as DACA as early as Friday. 

DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows children brought to the country illegally to stay.

All week long several activist groups and DACA recipients have been rallying outside of the Department of Homeland Security waving signs and asking for support to protect the program.  

RELATED: President Trump considering phasing out DACA, after promising that DREAMer children can 'rest easy'

"I'm here and I know this place and I feel it's my home, but people say it's not," said DACA recipient Jose Patino. 

Patino came to the US from Mexico when he was just 6 years old. After working to get his masters degree and becoming a teacher, he fears for himself and his parents.  

"They see me graduate, they see me with a degree, they see me become a professional," said Patino. "And that being taken away and seeing it in their eyes, that's what hurts." 

Earlier this year, President Trump looked like he might consider extending the program when he said, "It's a very, very tough subject. and we are going to deal with DACA with heart."

But with pushback from his own party, and possible lawsuits from multiple states, he may make the move to end it. 

And that leaves many like Reyna Montoya in fear. 

"That uncertainty that one day at three in the morning I will get a knock at the door and have ICE officers take everything that I have built," said Montoya.

But immigration attorney Ezekiel Hernandez is telling the undocumented community to stay strong. 

"It is impossible, physically impossible, to have 800,000 people detained," said Hernandez. 

Hernandez says unless a DACA recipient commits a crime, that person won't be detained, but some could face deportation proceedings. And he says DACA was never a permanent solution and many hope this could prompt a push for some type of reform.  

"The dreamers fought for it and the dreamers need to do the same now," said Hernandez.  

Trump is weighing his options on the protections for the nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants under DACA, which gave young undocumented immigrants who had come to the United States as children the chance to work and study in the country without fear of deportation. 

When the Obama administration instituted the deferred action program in 2012, critics, including then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, blasted the move as an executive overreach.

President Trump could end the program immediately or could let the DACA work visas run out, putting pressure on Congress to make a decision.