RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring joined 19 other state attorneys general in issuing a letter to President Donald Trump.
It calls on the president to keep and defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.
The program started five years ago under the Obama administration. It gives deportation protection and work status to qualified young people who were brought to the United States as children. So far, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants have achieved DACA status.
But the future of the program is uncertain.
“A lot of us are just kind of in limbo right now trying to see what will happen,” said one DACA recipient who doesn’t want to release her name.
She is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and came from Peru when she was 8.
She is one of more than 19,000 Virginians who have had their DACA applications approved.
In 2014, Herring advised those students qualify for in-state tuition. Since then, more than 1,200 have extended their education beyond high school.
“After Mark Herring made his announcement, it definitely opened up another door for me to be able to go to college at the university of my choice,” she said.
But not everyone is supportive of the program.
Last month, republicans in 10 states wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging the administration to “phase out” the program by September 5.
Herring is running for re-election. We asked his opponent’s campaign his thoughts on the debate.
John Adams’ communications director, Taylor Keeney, said Herring exceeded his authority by granting in-state tuition to DACA recipients, impacting other Virginians, and said the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate should hold that power.
Keeney provided this statement:
“John believes that one of the core functions of government is keeping Virginia’s families, children, and communities safe – and it will be a priority as attorney general. Mark Herring issued an opinion contrary to Virginia state law and grossly exceed his authority as Attorney General, allowing thousands of illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition at our college and universities. Herring relied on DACA – itself an executive overreach – in issuing his opinion so it is no surprise that he would want to see that federal executive action continued, but the people paying the price are the taxpayers and those children legally in our country and residing in Virginia who compete for limited in-state slots at many of our state universities. The General Assembly should make such decisions and not the Attorney General.”