Atlanta and Clarkston have joined more than 100 local governments across the country to oppose the end of DACA.
The two cities joined an amicus brief, filed this month, that praises the benefits of DACA and said the ending of the policy is unlawful.
“My being a DACA recipient … the impact of that has extended beyond me to my family and my community,” said Atlanta-area artist Yehimi Cambrón, who was born in Mexico.
Her civil rights murals were displayed during Super Bowl LIII held in Atlanta.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy protects certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation. In 2017, the Trump administration rescinded DACA. That decision has faced legal challenges. The Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments about the case in November, with a decision expected in 2020.
As of June 2019, about 21,000 DACA recipients are in Georgia. About 660,000 active DACA recipients are in the United States.
Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said although most of the immigrant population there comes through the refugee resettlement program, his city could be harmed by the end of the program.
“For all intents and purposes, they are Americans. And they deserve a legal pathway to be here and not risk deportation.” Terry said. “We can be losing our friends, families, neighbors, colleagues.”
“When DACA was instituted by the Obama/Biden administration, young people had their first opportunity to step out of the shadows to pursue their dreams through hard work and determination,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement.
Terry is running against Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue. Bottoms endorses former Vice President Joe Biden for president.
Roberto Hernandez, 33 and born in Mexico, owns an arts company and also helped his mother open a restaurant on Buford Highway. He said DACA has allowed him to attend college, open his businesses and hire workers.
“I started realizing that my opportunity to open a business offered many opportunities for other artists,” he said.
Cambrón said having something as basic as a driver’s license allows her to take her parents to the grocery store and doctor’s appointments.
She said the policy has also allowed her and others to enter professional spaces such as education and law.
“That also relieves a lot of the burden on a family’s income, especially in low-income communities,” she said.
She was an art teacher at Cross Keys High School in Dekalb County, the same school she graduated from. She said one of the reasons she left the classroom was that with the future of DACA uncertain, she may not have been able to stay employed as a teacher.
However, Cambrón said she won’t leave the United States if DACA ends.
“This is home,” she said.