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Yakima city council members are defending undocumented immigrants

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YAKIMA Wash. -- The Yakima City Council is trying to defend undocumented immigrants who could be deported and taken away from their families.

At today’s council meeting Mayor Kathy Coffey and Councilwoman Dulce Gutierrez presented a letter to the council’s Partnership Committee that shows their support towards the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and undocumented immigrants here in Yakima.

The letter will be sent to President Donald Trump urging him to keep the DACA program and allow the children under it to live out their American Dream.

Mayor Coffey says they are supporting undocumented immigrants because many of them work hard in agriculture and Yakima relies on that as an economic base.

“That comes with many migrants and the migrants and their children and this is an important tool for the children of migrants to further their education, to further their lives and to become an even greater contributing member to our country,” said Coffey.

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Heritage University Mellissa Hill says the program allows undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as minors to receive a two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

“It affords them some protection and it is a funded program it’s a mandated program right now that is in effect and we’re very glad to have DACA to support our students that want to continue their education,” said Hill.

Student leader for the Migrant Student Association at Heritage University Sandra Mena says she sees the constant struggle undocumented students go through every day so keeping this program will give them peace of mind.

“I actually have a friend who he is under DACA and one of the struggles that they have that I personally don’t is the constant worry of am I going to be able to finish college before I get deported,” said Mena.

The Partnership Committee will make a recommendation to have the full Council sign the letter at their business meeting next Tuesday.

If approved and signed by the full council, the letter will be sent to the White House.

For more information on the DACA program and how to sign up for it you can visit the USCIS website.

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