North Texas Dreamers celebrate Thanksgiving, worry about future

Dallas-area Dreamers gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner together as their future in the United States remains uncertain.

The potluck, put together by the Texas Organizing Project, comes as lawmakers work against the clock to pass legislation that would keep Dreamers from being deported.

A lot has changed for Juan Carlos Cerda, 24, since FOX4 first spoke to the DACA recipient back in January. The Yale graduate was teaching kindergarten at a school in Dallas. Now he's a community activist fighting against the deadline for his own deportation to Mexico -- a country he's not been to in 17 years.

“Today I'm feeling optimistic. I'm feeling optimistic about getting a Dream Act passed this year,” Cerda said.

Cerda is one of an estimated 140,000 DACA recipients in Texas counting on congress to pass bipartisan Dream legislation before President Trump's deadline in March 2018.

North Texas congressman Joe Barton is a Republican working with Democrats to help make that happen.

 “I predict it will pass overwhelmingly with over 300 votes,” Barton said, who is a co-sponsor of the Dream Act.

Barton believes Dreamers should be allowed to stay in put, calling it the right thing to do.

“They've been educated here, they've grown up here, they are Americans except they're not US citizens because they came here without permission,” Barton said.

The Dream act and an alternative bill both provide a pathway for dreamers to apply for permanent residency. The Dream Act would give DACA recipients eight years to complete the process. The alternative republican bill shortens the window to five years.

While it appears Dream legislation has bipartisan support, Democratic congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is urging concerned Texans to take action now.

“You don't have to write me, but write everyone in this area and ask congress to please vote for this legislation,” Johnson said.

Barton said he believes the biggest hurdle will be getting either version of the bill to the house floor for a vote. Barton believes it will happen sometime early next year -- adding that it’s a top priority of the speaker of the house.

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