Dreamers on LI anxiously await immigration reform resolution
A DACA recipient from Long Island says she's excited that an extension of the DACA program is now part of the conversation in the government shutdown.
Democrats call it a "non-starter," but President Donald Trump's offer to include some immigration reform measures in exchange for funds to build a border wall could be voted on as early as Tuesday in the Senate.
Paula Chirinos and her brother flew to New York from their native Peru to visit their grandmother 17 years ago on a visitor's visa but ended up staying. She is now in her third year at Hofstra University, and is a DACA recipient.
Every two years she needs to renew her status, and she says there's always the fear of her being deported.
"My status is going to actually expire this year, so I can't say for sure that I'll be safe five years from now. I don't know what my future will look like five years from now," she says.
Long Island residents may be hearing about some long-awaited movement in Washington this week. The Senate and House are each expected to vote on spending bills. Although they are vastly different versions, it could lead to negotiations between the two sides.
"If Mitch McConnell can get the president's proposal through the Senate and Nancy Pelosi get different proposals through the House, that would up a conference between the two sides," says Rep. Peter King, of Seaford.
King says he supports money for the wall and also wants to see protections for Dreamers.
Glen Cove Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi says he agrees.
"I have no problem with spending money on physical barriers if you're also going to spend money on radar, border personnel, immigration judges and on humanitarian issues. Let's have comprehensive border security. But don't spend that money unless you're also going to fix the problem," he says.
While furloughed workers are desperately waiting to get paid again, Dreamers like Chirinos desperately wait for a resolution to their situation.
"I feel that I have the merits to contribute to society," she says. "I'm fighting every day to prove my worthiness."
Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate's minority leader, insist they will not vote for any spending bill that includes money for a border wall.