DACA

Members of Congress are pushing to seal the deal on the status of immigrants who came to this country illegally as children.

The decision was supposed to be made by March 5, but that didn’t happen.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called a 200 percent spike in illegal border crossings in March compared with a year ago "a dangerous story" as she pressed lawmakers Wednesday to provide funding for President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nielsen appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to push for approval of the Trump administration's $47.5 billion FY 2019 budget request for her department, which includes $18 billion for the border wall.

A fierce debate is taking place across the country right now: What to do about immigrants who came here illegally as children. Up until recently, they qualified for a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects them from deportation. But the Trump administration rescinded that Obama-era rule and Congress is debating what will take its place.  

We talked to three people affected by that debate right here in the Mountain West.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Four years ago state lawmakers – and the governor – created a law to help undocumented children follow their American dreams. They allowed them to pay the significantly cheaper in-state tuition to go to state colleges instead of higher out-of-state prices. The requirements: They must graduate from a Colorado high school that they’ve attended for three years and promise to pursue citizenship.

“This is an issue that has been a challenge in our state and our country for many years,” said Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, one of the main sponsors of Senate Bill 33.

While Colorado’s congressional delegation had mixed reactions to President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, many continue to show bipartisan support for the policy. The executive order, signed by President Obama, gave children brought into the United States illegally a chance to stay in the country legally.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Colorado Springs Tuesday to protest the Trump administration’s decision to end the program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program was created by the Obama administration in 2012, and allowed certain people who had entered the United States illegally as children to apply for work permits and protection from deportation. 

Updated at 3:57 p.m. ET

The Trump administration Tuesday formally announced it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — also called DACA — putting an expiration date on the legal protections granted to roughly 800,000 people known as "DREAMers," who entered the country illegally as children.

President Trump issued a statement, saying, "I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws."