DENVER -- Less than a day after the government resumed accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter on Sunday that “DACA is dead.”
That is leaving many questioning what is next.
“It’s something that hits me really hard, just hearing that I have an expiration date? It really takes away the human part,” DACA recipient Ulises Rivera said.
Rivera was born in Mexico, but when he was 2 years old, his parents immigrated to the United States for a chance at a better life.
“My family in Mexico, they didn’t have anything. They came from mud houses and shacks,” Rivera said.
The DACA program protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from being deported.
Rivera renewed his two-year work permit before the Trump administration announced the decision to end the program in the fall.
Fully ending the program was delayed six months to give Congress time to decide how to handle the reform.
Although Rivera considers Aurora home, his fate and that of more than 17,000 Coloradans is still uncertain.
“I don’t know what would happen. Mexico isn’t my home. This is my home,” Rivera said.
Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Colorado's Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, announced they reached an agreement on how to address immigration, but details of the compromise haven’t been released.
On Sunday, Trump said Democrats have stalled a potential deal, stating on Twitter “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”
In a separate Tweet he wrote, “I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST.”
As the March deadline for DACA looms, Rivera is hoping for a compromise.
“We hope that sooner than March we can find a solution, that we don’t have to wait to the very last minute,” Rivera said.
If Congress doesn’t reach an agreement on the issue and pass a spending bill, the consequences would be a government shutdown by the end of the week.