Washington (AFP) – Carolina Fung Feng was resting after the grueling 230-mile walk from New York to Washington for a Supreme Court hearing Tuesday that will determine the fate of “Dreamers” like her — the 600,000 young migrants who arrived illegally in the country as children.
Only 12 years old when she arrived from Costa Rica, Fung Feng, now 30, has made her life in America.
But that life was plunged into limbo after President Donald Trump — who campaigned on a starkly anti-immigrant platform — moved in 2017 to end the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has given Fung Feng and others the legal cover to work and study in the US.
Together with dozens of other “Dreamers,” she had trudged southward for 16 days, braving rain, cold, and bruised and blistered feet. Shrugging off their exhaustion, the group broke into a jog as they finally neared the Supreme Court in Washington on Sunday, shouting, “Our home is here.”
Fung Feng is a plaintiff in a lawsuit that, while wending its way to the high court, has allowed DACA to remain provisionally in force.
“Through this march, we wanted to let people know that the program is in danger of being fully terminated and we want to remind them that we’re still here,” she said.
Being part of the suit — the Supreme Court is not expected to issue a ruling before 2020, the same year as a hotly contested presidential election — matters hugely to Fung Feng.
She feels she can be the voice for other young people in her situation, as well as the other 10.5 million undocumented migrants estimated to be in the country.
– ‘The same pain’ –
According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are 660,000 registered DACA beneficiaries, including 529,760 from Mexico and smaller numbers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, South Korea, Brazil and other countries.
While their experiences differ, Fung Feng said, “We all have the same pain.”
In the courtroom Tuesday, nine black-robed justices will weigh the Dreamers’s fate. Five of them are conservatives, including two appointed by Trump.
“I expect the judges to listen to our case, understand that we’re human beings,” Fung Feng said.