MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Cecilia Maciel has lived in Tennessee since she was seven years old when she immigrated with her parents from Mexico. Since then, she’s gotten married, completed a college degree and is now in graduate school.
“I’m doing my masters in social work at University of Memphis and I am a case worker here at Latino Memphis,” Maciel, 23, said. “Thanks to [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], I’ve been able to have a job. If I didn’t have a work permit there’s no way I could make a good living.”
She and others have been paying attention to national news regarding her legal status as a “dreamer.” And in the State of the Union, President Donald Trump gave her hope that a solution could be close.
“For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen,” Trump said Tuesday night.
In exchange, the President said he wanted funding to build the Southern border wall. Maciel and advocates told WREG they were willing to make the concession.
“Because it’s such a rough political climate, we have to compromise with whatever you get. I think it’s a start but not what I’d like to see,” Maciel said.
“On DACA, I’m not optimistic on [the President’s] comments, I’m optimistic on the momentum DACA has from Congress in both parties,” said Mauricio Calvo, executive director of Latino Memphis. “People are waiting to see what happens. Last night was a show, just a speech.”
But others said immigrants who came illegally shouldn’t get a pass.
“I believe in legal immigration, not illegal. You can’t have one and the other. That doesn’t work. They don’t combine,” Dave Green said.
“Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements and show good moral character will be able to become full citizens of the U.S. over a 12-year period,” Trump said.
It’s still unclear if the plan would pass and under what terms.