Real-life impact

Young ‘Dreamer’ speaks out about President Trump’s plan to phase out DACA program

Karen Zapien (YouTube / NBC News)

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that President Donald Trump has decided to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program implemented by former President Barack Obama in 2012. Dreamers, as the children of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents and through no decision of their own are known, are allowed under DACA to work, pay taxes, go to school, and enjoy a number of other rights that citizens enjoy without fear of deportation.

There are about 800,000 Dreamers living in the U.S. currently, and NBC News caught up with one them as she watched Sessions’ announcement live on television. Karen Zapien and her brother, Junior, came to the U.S. from Mexico as young children. According to High Country News, Zapien was brought to the U.S. by family members when she was just 1 year old. Her parents crossed the border into Arizona at a later date and reunited with her. She didn’t learn she was an undocumented immigrant until she was a teenager, the report said.

As Zapien watched Sessions’ announcement, her eyes filled up with tears. Afterward, she spoke on camera about how she and her brother are unsure what the future holds for them and others like them now.

“You’re talking about children that were brought here without their own consent, when they were 1 and 2 years old,” Zapien said. “This is all we know. We’re already fed up … fed up [of] of people told we don’t belong in a country we were raised in.”

“These are people’s lives,” Zapien said. “They’re not just numbers.” Watch her interview below.

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