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Local DACA Backers to Head to Washington

A couple of busloads of southeast Wisconsin residents will set off for Washington Tuesday to take part in rallies designed to build support for the immediate passage of legislation to protect the children of illegal immigrants.

DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, was killed by President Trump earlier this year. It’s up to Congress now to pass legislation to head off deportations that could begin next spring.

DACA supporters, like Christine Neumann-Ortiz of Voces de la Frontera, believe Congress should pass the legislation this week as part of a crucial spending bill. "If it goes on to next year and the legislative process there's more opportunity for it to get ham-stringed," she said at a Monday news conference at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha.

Representatives of the Racine Interfaith Coalition, its Kenosha counterpart, CUSH, or Congregations United to Serve Humanity; Forward Kenosha and the League of United Latin American Citizens were on hand. 

Speakers included Ilse Merlin of Racine, whose DACA protections allow her to drive legally and hold a job as an after school program coordinator at her church. Her dream is to continue her college education and eventually land a job as a third-grade teachers. But without DACA, she's afraid that she could potentially lose her job and driver's license, and wind up having to take a low-wage job--"something that currently is a reality for my mother." 

Merlin, now 23,  said her mother brought her to this country as a five year-old. 

A delegation of DACA demonstrators will leave for Washington from Horlick High School at 2:45 Tuesday afternoon.