Lancaster “Dreamer” educates public on effects of DACA decision

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YORK, Pa. - With all the questions surrounding the future of the Dreamers -- children brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants -- a Lancaster man is educating the public on the basics of immigration law and what the decision to rescind DACA means.

Carlos Gonzalez came to the U.S. as a child with his mother and two sisters from the Dominican Republic after his father died.

"She did what she could," he said. "She went back to trade school, she started her own business, but the economy just kept deteriorating, so she made the choice to come to the United States for good."

Through DACA, Gonzalez was able to attend college and eventually earned two Masters degrees. He now works for the Pennsylvania Immigrant and Citizenship Coalition, educating the public on immigration law.

"If you look at the guidelines for the program, you have to pass a very difficult background check, make sure you're not a criminal, and we're not eligible for any type of public benefits," Gonzalez said. "If anything, we pay taxes. That's what we do."

On Thursday, he spoke to dozens of people at the Unitarian Universalist Community of York hoping to push Congress for a more permanent solution.

The stakes are high. An estimated 7,000 people per week will lose their jobs starting in March if nothing is done. Also, Dreamers pay more than $20 million in local and state taxes here in Pennsylvania, according to data cited by PICC.

"We've been here, and we want a solution to this issue and we cannot apply for anything at the moment, so I hope that they call their congressman and support a path to citizenship for Dreamers," Gonzalez said.

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