Families worried about the state of DACA immigration policy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Families worried about the state of DACA immigration policy

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MATTAWA, WA – The Cruz family left everything behind in Oaxaca, Mexico, in search of a better life.

“We’re not terrorists…we’re farm workers, that’s it,” says Crispin Cruz, whose daughter is a DACA recipient. “We started a life here in Mattawa.”

Cruz told us he has been working in the fields around Mattawa for more than thirteen years.

“You can see people here with their buckets and lamps, like fireflies at night.”

Pruning in the winter, picking in the summer and fall…harvesting cherries, apples, and asparagus.

“I had plans to go back to Mexico soon, but life changed,” said Cruz.

Two of Cruz’s four kids were born in Mexico. The oldest, Idanis Cruz, is a sophomore at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“It’s not easy to get to a university,” Cruz said.

Idanis is an undocumented student, also known as a “dreamer”. She’s one of 750,000 students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy signed by former president Barack Obama in 2012.

Among the many requirements, the child must have come to the United States before his or her sixteenth birthday. The Pew Research Center estimates as many as 1.7 million people might be eligible.

But now, the future of the policy is uncertain. During his campaign, President Donald Trump announced he would eliminate DACA.

“A lot of people would be affected,” said Cruz. “They would lose a lot of benefits.”

Like being able to work in the U.S. legally, without fear of deportation.

“My daughter’s dream is to become a professional,” Cruz said.

Idanis wants to be a nurse, and she stays motivated and focused on her goals with her dad’s inspiration.

“Keep fighting, keep moving forward, don’t hold back.”

Cruz says he also has a message for the new president.

“Please let the good people dream.”

He has hopes that there will be a solution not just for his daughter, but for all immigrants that come here in search of a better life.

“I’d like for the president to approve a law to help us all,” Cruz said. With tears in his eyes and pride in his voice, he stays positive. “We don’t have a choice. We’re going to keep moving forward and look for new horizons.”

Those decision makers in Washington D.C. are crossing the aisle to support dreamers. The Bridge Act, co-sponsored by eight republicans and eight democrats in the house – including Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside – aims to give people in the DACA program provisional protected presence in the U.S. for another three years, giving Congress time to come up with a permanent solution.

An identical bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate by Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina