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Nebraska advocates for DACA Dreamers criticize federal appeals court ruling

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Advocates for so-called Dreamers in Omaha are criticizing a recent federal appeals court ruling and calling on congress to take action.

By most estimates, there are roughly 3,000-3,500 “Dreamers” in Nebraska. People who were brought here to the United States from countries such as Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala illegally when they were children.

An executive order—signed by President Obama back in 2012—granted them temporary legal status allowing Dreamers to obtain work permits while protecting them from being deported.

But a federal appeals court now says that policy is unlawful.

The ruling sends the matter back to a federal judge in Texas to issue a new decision. Add to that, Nebraska is one of nine states that challenged the legality of DACA.

This week the attorney general’s office in Lincoln sent a new statement.

“The sole basis for Nebraska joining this lawsuit is that then-President Obama improperly used the tool of an executive order to expand definitions and coverage in our federal immigration law.

Our constitution specifically provides that all immigration laws must be established by congress. Therefore the lawsuit was to maintain the separation of powers.”

The ruling is a tough blow to the Immigrant Legal Center in Omaha. They represent DACA recipients and say many of them, not only have jobs but also have established families in Omaha in the past decade.

“That just makes the uncertainty all that much harder for these families. They have U.S. citizen children in the United States but they don’t know what their status is in the U.S. and what their future might be. They’ve been here for most of their lives and they’ve created communities. They are part of our community and they don’t know what they are going to do in the future,” said Anne Wurth, Immigrant Legal Center.

A key part of the ruling is this: Current DACA recipients will be allowed to renew their application, as they do every two years. But the ruling bars any new applications.

Immigration Attorney Anne Wurth wants congress to pass some sort of pathway to citizenship for the dreamers.

But with the fight for control of congress red hot in the upcoming election and beyond, that does not appear likely anytime soon.

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