New Jersey residents who came to the United States as child immigrants are fearing for their futures and families after news that their temporary legal status may soon be stripped.
President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children — but with a six-month delay, two sources familiar with the decision told NBC News Monday.
The six-month delay in the formal dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, would be intended to give Congress time to decide whether it wants to address the status of the so-called Dreamers legislation, two people familiar with the president's thinking told The Associated Press.
The news raised major concerns for immigrant communities in Elizabeth, New Jersey. At 7 a.m. Tuesday, many of those immigrants here legally under DACA will board buses to head to D.C. to protest outside the White House. Many are fearful they could be separated from their families.
Ana Reuda was brought to the United States with her brother when she was just two years old. She and her brother Gus both got DACA status in 2012 when President Obama decided the children of undocumented immigrants could have temporary legal status.
Now she has a baby of her own, the dismantling of DACA has consequences not just for her, but also for 7-month-old Sebastian.
If she were to lose her DACA status, Ana will either have to take her son to Mexico, or live in hiding.
"Since having my baby it has been very very terrifying. Maybe leaving him. Having nowhere to take care of him."
Shay and Vaeria Zegarra both came to New Jersey before the age of six. Both have big dreams. Shay is a student at Rutgers Newark, who plans to go to law school. Valeria wants to study special education. But those dreams are now in danger.
"I don't know where my life is going at this point when I fought so hard for it," Shay said.
Make the Road New Jersey spokesperson Nedia Morsy explained the impact the change could have on immigrant families.
"They will lose their work permits, and they won't be eligible for work that matches their skill set. So a lot of our nurses who have DACA won't be able to work as nurses anymore. It's a huge impact to our economy."
It was not immediately clear how the six-month delay would work in practice and what would happen to people who currently have work permits under the program, or whose permits expire during the six-month stretch.
It also was unclear exactly what would happen if Congress failed to pass a measure by the considered deadline, they said.
The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Sources tell NBC News the decision, expected to come Tuesday, is not final until it announced.
Last month more than a thousand people marched outside Trump Tower to demand DACA immigrants be allowed to stay.