An eventful day for tens of thousands of "Dreamers" across the nation as the deadline to renew their immigration status arrived Thursday. Meanwhile Governor Jerry Brown softens the blow by declaring California a sanctuary state.
"Today marks the deadline, that cruel and arbitrary deadline, that Trump put in place. To say that a 154 thousand people will have to scramble in a matter of days to find $495 dollars to file for their applications of DACA otherwise they will lose their protection for deportation," said Christina Jimenez, co-founder of United We Dream.
In Los Angeles, immigration rights protesters, including Jimenez, staged a demonstration outside of Senator Dianne Feinstien’s Westwood office, blocking traffic and drawing officers in riot gear.
In the desert, people like 21-year-old College of the Desert culinary student Sergio Sanchez, who was not eligible for DACA renewal, have one concern in mind.
"The nightmare scenario for me is going home and finding my family was torn apart. Having my younger brother grow up without his older brothers," said Sanchez.
The dilemma of not being able to renew his DACA status has left Sanchez with few options.
"At this point I have to sit, wait and hope that congress can push a new law through," Sanchez said
But it’s not all bad news for Sanchez and other Dreamers in his position. Thanks to the stroke of a pen from Governor Jerry Brown, the Golden State is now a sanctuary state.
"It takes some weight off my shoulders if that makes sense. One less thing we have to worry about. I can just focus on working and school for now," said Sanchez.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, a little over 118 thousand people nation-wide, about a quarter of those eligible for renewal, did not submit their application. An official with TODEC, an immigration assistance center with offices in Perris and Coachella tells KMIR the reason for this is many DACA recipients could not afford the $495 dollar renewal fee.