Rep. Juan Vargas hosts immigration forum - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rep. Juan Vargas hosts immigration forum

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Immigration took center stage in a forum hosted by Chula Vista Congressman Juan Vargas on Monday night.

Some of the issues that were discussed included immigrant rights, deported veterans and the “Dreamer” program.

Monday night’s forum also provided legal advice to an audience of more than 100 – many who expressed fear and uncertainty as they struggle to navigate the current administration’s stance on immigration.

Among those attended was Anayeli Auza, a “dreamer.” Her parents brought her to the United States when she was only a year-and-a-half.

Now a junior at Cal State Humboldt, Anayeli is advocating for herself and other undocumented young people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA.

DACA is a program initiated by President Barack Obama and is currently being threatened by President Trump.

“Unfortunately some of these dreamers are becoming nightmares for themselves. Some of them are getting deported now,” said Congressman Juan Vargas. 

Also brought to light was the fight for citizenship for deported veterans honorably discharged and service members who were deported after committing a non-violent crime.

“After they paid their debt to society for whatever infraction they committed, the gravest injustice was removing someone from the country they were willing to die for,” said Nathan Fletcher, veteran and former Assembly Member. 

While some protesters spoke out during and after the forum, many community members like Anayeli are more focused on their future the country they consider their home.

“I honestly do not know what the future holds for us, and don’t know what is going to happen with DACA, but as long as we have hope, I believe we will be able to do anything,” she said.

Last month, Congressman Vargas introduced a Deported Veterans Bill package which would prevent veterans from being deported and help those who have been deported get access to medical care.

On the state level, legislation has been proposed to help deported veterans with ties to California to access legal representation to fight for citizenship.

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