Local immigration lawyer talks about future of Washingtonian DAC - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local immigration lawyer talks about future of Washingtonian DACA recipients

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PASCO, WA - The Trump Administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. Congress now has a choice.

Replace the program, or risk almost 800,000 people currently under 36 years of age - who were brought to the U.S. by their parents as kids - losing their legal status in the U.S.

Reporter Rex Carlin spoke with Pasco immigration lawyer Eamonn Roach today, who says the six-month deadline won't affect all DACA recipients at once, because they will still have status until their documentation expires. But once it does, if Congress doesn't act, they won't be able to renew and they won't have any legal status in the U.S.

"Beginning probably six months from now, there will be about a thousand people per day who will lose their deferred action status," said Roach. "And that total amount of people is about 800,000 people."

And out of that 800,000, Roach says 18,000 people with DACA status live right here in Washington state, and he estimates about half of them live in eastern Washington.

"There's a lot of ag here, but there's way more population in Seattle, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually about half and half, eastern Washington and Seattle, so about 9,000 kids," said Roach.

So what steps can Congress take before these six months are up?

Roach says one of the most convenient options would be the Bridge Act, introduced identically in both the House and Senate...with Representative Dan Newhouse co-sponsoring the House Legislation.

"The Bridge Act was introduced about a month or two ago," Roach explained. "That could be voted on and it essentially has all the requirements of deferred action, and it's valid for three years, and during that three-year period Congress can decide if they want to do something better, like a legal permanent resident status or some other way to get some sort of a better status."

The other option Roach brings up is the Dream Act, which was first introduced in the Senate in 2001 and has been reintroduced several times over the years.

Roach says since those two have already been introduced, they would be the easiest options for Congress to pass something before the six-month deadline hits.