President Donald Trump’s decision winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program met with a swift response in Lexington.
DACA recipients and their supporters took to the streets downtown to protest the White House announcement. Speakers who have benefited from the Obama-era initiative talked about their efforts to put down roots and build a life in the bluegrass.
"Hearing the news was really devastating and really heartbreaking," says organizer Noemi Lara-Rojo. "I feel that the immigrant community has contributed so much to the country and to the community itself and really the decision that Trump made yesterday was just a slap in the face for us."
Many are anxious about the future holds as the presidents hands the issue off to a Congress that’s been plagued by legislative setbacks and faces a crowded fall docket.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered few hints in a brief statement following the decision, saying Trump corrected President Obama’s executive overreach and that this Congress will “continue working on securing our border and ensuring a lawful system of immigration that works.”
"I am hopeful that with the pressure that we're going to put on Congress and on the Trump administration that we are able to get a more permanent solution," Lara-Rojo adds. "We didn't back down with Obama. We're not going to back down now with Trump."
So far the politics have fallen along largely partisan lines in Kentucky, with Republicans applauding the chance for lawmakers to craft more permanent immigration policy and Democrats decrying the decision as cruel and out of sync with American values.