President Joe Biden met with six immigrants on Friday who benefited from a policy introduced during the Barack Obama presidency that protects people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
Biden tries to draw attention to a reform of the country’s immigration laws, but it is an issue on which he has made little progress in the first months of his presidency.
Maria Praeli, one of the immigrants who participated in the meeting, said she and others spoke frankly with Biden about their concerns and their fears that their fate could be disrupted by a Texas court’s decision if it is that Congress does not act.
“Our lives have been in limbo too long,” Praeli said. She was brought to the United States from Peru when she was 5 years old and now works as a government relations manager at the immigrant rights activist group FWD.us.
The immigration issue has largely taken a backseat as Biden focused on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and lobbied Congress to pass a massive package to improve the country’s infrastructure.
Immigrants invited to Friday’s meeting in the Oval Office have benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, instituted in 2012 to regularize the residency of these young people known as “dreamers. ”. Biden renewed his call for Congress to pass a law regulating DACA and another to establish a way for 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally to naturalize, an initiative that has little chance of success in a divided Congress.
AP correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.