Local dreamer reacts to DACA discussions on Capitol Hill
By: Rebecca Turco
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – As Congress decides whether to reinstate the DACA program, a dreamer from East Providence is urging lawmakers to consider dreamers like him.
"These are people with lives," Rodrigo Pimentel told ABC6 News.
Pimentel, 20, has lived in Rhode Island since he was ten months-old, when his parents moved from Portugal. His DACA permit expires next year.
"If congress doesn't act by then, I will essentially lose my ability to work,” he explained. “It has meant in the past few months - a lot of uncertainty [of] where my life will be in the next few months."
DACA protection was a sticking point for Democrats during the government shutdown. Monday's deal was made only after Republicans promised to prioritize resolving the Dreamer's Act.
"It's a good day for bipartisanship and it's a good day for progress," Senator Sheldon Whitehouse told ABC6 News over the phone from Washington, D.C.
He’s confident Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will keep his word on DACA: "He won't just be violating his promise to Democrats – he'll be violating his promise to about a dozen members of his own caucus, which is something no leader wants to do.
All that being said, there's still opposition from Republicans like Ted Cruz. He told reporters: "I think it would be a serious mistake for us to pass an amnesty bill for citizenship for millions here illegally."
Pimentel, meanwhile, is urging lawmakers to act fast, saying dreamers' lives hang in the balance. "It's a choice that Congress has to make and they need to make it now," he said.
Congressional delegations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts were split on the deal to end the shutdown. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey voted no. So did Congressman David Cicilline.
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