Gaby Pacheco, a Miami activist who has spent most of her life fearing deportation, noticed an awkward Facebook anniversary last week: A group photo marking four years since she visited Trump Tower in New York City to meet Donald Trump.
At Trump’s invitation in August 2013, the then 28-year-old undocumented resident joined fellow activists to promote immigration reform. The group of so-called Dreamers — the name often given to individuals who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children — gathered in Trump’s office overlooking Central Park. They found him to be gracious and inquisitive, even receptive about a push for legal status. He listened to their stories.
“You’ve convinced me,” the billionaire assured his guests. They beamed, believing they had broken through to him, as he escorted them to the lobby to pick souvenirs.
Today, now President Trump doesn’t seem so convinced. He’s reportedly considering whether to end the very program that gave deportation reprieve to Pacheco and the three other undocumented activists who apparently won his sympathies in Manhattan.
As soon as Friday, he’s expected to announce plans to revoke DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Implemented by his White House predecessor, Barack Obama, in 2012, the policy shields people who were brought over illegally as children so they can work and study without fear of deportation.
Undoing Obama’s executive order would leave some 800,000 DACA recipients vulnerable to being rounded up and sent away to countries they barely know.
One governor and 10 ultra-conservative state attorneys general have threatened in a letter to sue him unless Trump rescinds DACA by Sept. 5, arguing the program “amounts to an unlawful use of executive power.”
Trump has seemingly agonized over what to do, alternating between hard-line rhetoric against illegal immigration and expressions of compassion. In February, he pledged to treat Dreamers “with heart.” In April, he said they should “rest easy.”
He’s now reportedly leaning towards rescinding DACA.
Anxiety about deportations stayed with Pacheco even after she…