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Prayer Vigil held for Omaha 'DREAMers'

Posted at 10:25 PM, Dec 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-18 23:25:17-05

With many Omaha area immigrants facing an uncertain future, Pro-immigration advocates used a traditional Latin-American holiday event to bring attention to their plight and call on lawmakers to come up with a solution to keep them in the U.S.

Nearly 100 people attended St. John’s Catholic Church at Creighton Monday night for a vigil in support of immigrants who are fearful of what looming immigration deadlines could have in store for them in the next couple of months.

“It’s really a reenactment of the story of the holy family as they traveled to Bethlehem because they had to register but had nowhere to stay,” said Kathleen Grant, co-chair at Omaha Together One Community.

As critical deadlines to immigration programs, like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), DREAMers and TPS recipients worry deportation is imminent, which is why advocates at Monday’s vigil urged those in attendance to contact Nebraska lawmakers on behalf of DACA youth.

“Both groups are at significant risk for a sever outcome, including deportation,” added Grant.

Cesar Magaña Linares, a UNO student studying to become an immigration attorney, is a TPS recipient. He was born in El Salvador, but he and his family were grants TPS status due to an earthquake nearly 20 years ago.

TPS is granted to people who are unable to return to their home country because of a crisis, whether natural or man-made.

“I’ve had TPS since I was two or three years old and although I don’t have deferred action like a lot of other DREAMers do, I now face the same reality that they do,” said Linares.

The Trump administration has sad TPS, which is renewed every 18 months and has been in effects for years, might be terminated, based on each individual country.

El Salvadorans are expected to learn about their TPS program status by the end of January. If the program is not renewed, the program will be terminated in 60 days.