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Oregon Immigrants, Advocates Rally In Salem For Dream Act

Immigrants and their advocates rallied on the Oregon Capitol steps in Salem Monday, calling for the passage of legislation to help immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. 

Monday was the original date President Donald Trump set to rescind the Deferred Action For Early Childhood Arrivals program.

The program hasn't ended, though, because federal courts ruled that the president didn’t follow the law when he canceled it.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown pledged to continue opposing federal efforts to end DACA. 

"I hear your hopes, your aspirations, your fears over an uncertain future," she told the crowd. "As the president continues to try to dismantle the DACA program, we in Oregon will keep fighting back."

Several Oregonians described going to school or finding jobs thanks to the protections the DACA program provides.

"I love my job, I love helping the community, I love being a paramedic, but I am uncertain what our future holds," said Anahi Barragan, a paramedic and DACA recipient who attended Chemeketa Community College.  

In their recent session, Oregon lawmakers passed several bills to help DACA recipients get state services such as identification cards and in-state tuition.

“I just want to honestly thank all of our Oregon representatives back here for supporting us and staying strong with us,” Barragan said. 

Following court rulings, officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have said they will continue to accept requests to renew DACA status, though they are not considering new requests. 

At rallies across the country Monday, immigrants urged Congress to pass a version of the Dream Act, a bill first introduced in 2001 that would create a path to permanent residency and citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants. 

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Amelia Templeton is a multimedia reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting, covering Portland city hall, justice and local news. She was previously a reporter for EarthFix, an award-winning public media project covering the environment in the Northwest.