by Xinhua Writers Wang Wen, Zhang Zhihuan, Yang Shilong
NEW YORK, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- For 23-year-old Zuleima Dominguez, the Trump administration's decision to rescind a program that shields young immigrants brought into the United States illegally as children from deportation, means she might relive the fear that had once haunted her for more than a decade.
Born in Mexico, Dominguez arrived in the United States when she was seven years old. Her parents pinned hope on her opportunity to receive higher education and find a good job that they had never had in Mexico.
For more than a decade, Dominguez was living in the fear that she might be exposed as an undocumented immigrant and had to struggle to pay for her college.
It was the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that lifted her out of despair and inferiority.
Under the program implemented in 2012, recipients receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit by applying to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Approximately 800,000 people have participated in the program across the United States and they are often referred to as Dreamers.
Dominguez was able to apply for a scholarship, become a full-time student, travel outside the United States, and most importantly, feel like a U.S. citizen.
"I thought I was never going to graduate (from college), and then DACA happened. DACA changed my life," Dominguez told media on Wednesday.
However, the White House announced on Tuesday that the DACA is being rescinded. President Donald Trump said in a written statement that he is looking forward to working with the Congress to finally address all of these issues "in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first."
The move met strong protest from many attorneys general, mayors, business leaders, labor unions and immigration advocates, among whom, 15 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Wednesday.
The lawsuit details how the Trump administration has violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against Dreamers of Mexican origin, who make up 78 percent of DACA recipients, violated Due Process rights, and harmed states' residents, institutions, and economies.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a news conference that there is no good reason to end the program because the Dreamers play by the rules, work hard, pay taxes, and have a clean record.
"For most (of the Dreamers), the United States is the only home they have ever known. They deserve to stay here," he said, adding that the Dreamers are making America great.
"Immigration is the lifeblood of New York State. The Trump administration's decision to end DACA is cruel, inhumane, and devastating to the 42,000 New Yorkers who have been able to come out of the shadows and live a full life as a result of the program," said Schneiderman.
He added that the DACA repeal would not only affect life of Dreamers and their families, but also cause huge economic harm to New York.
New York city mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Wednesday, "To the 30,000 Dreamers in this city and the 800,000 across the country: New York has your back."
Also on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted three Dreamers at home, and live-streamed their personal stories. The video was watched by more than 1.8 million people.
In the video, Zuckerberg expressed concern about White House's latest move. He said it is important to find a solution and give those in the DACA program a guarantee of work status and "a full pathway to citizenship," which is a fundamental and humane thing to have.
Yet, not all people are against Trump administration's decision. Some have voiced concerns that the DACA has amounted to an amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Lee Cheng, co-founder and director of the Asian American Legal Foundation, said he supports immigration standards focused on national security only "because it is clear to me that immigrants have always been and remain a huge net positive to America."
The problem and challenge with "broad amnesty of almost any kind" can be seen in the aftermath of the amnesty granted to illegal immigrants under former President Ronald Reagan, he said.
"No one can dispute that the amnesty absolutely encouraged even more illegal immigration in the following two decades and is the driver of many of the immigration issues facing America today," Cheng told Xinhua.
The Trump administration is simply asking the Congress to take appropriate action on immigration law rather than extending DACA -- the Congress has the power and also the authority, as well as the duty, to do so, he said.