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PNS Daily Newscast - February 23, 2018 


As the NRA doubles down on "good guys with guns," the Broward County Sheriff admits an armed deputy did not engage with the Parkland school shooter. Also on our nationwide rundown: workers across the nation will spend part of their weekend defending the American Dream; and a study says the Lone Star State is distorting Texas history lessons.

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TN Youths Demand Congress Pass Dream Act

More than 30 young people from Tennessee who are at risk of deportation are in Washington this week to talk with members of Congress about the importance of passing a Dream Act. (Wally Gobetz/flickr)
More than 30 young people from Tennessee who are at risk of deportation are in Washington this week to talk with members of Congress about the importance of passing a Dream Act. (Wally Gobetz/flickr)
November 9, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- More than 30 young people from Tennessee are in Washington, D.C., today to share their message with government leaders.

They are part of a group of 1,000 of their peers, demanding that Congress pass the Dream Act to prevent more than 8,000 DACA residents in Tennessee from being deported.

Elman Gonzalez is one of them. Now 20, he's lived in this country since he was 3 years old, when his parents came here from Honduras. He said it's important for people to separate fact from fiction.

"I feel like the reasons that people give as to why they're against the Dream Act and DACA too, is they don't really know what it is, really,” Gonzalez said. "They don't know the impact it has on millions of people."

Recipients such as Gonzalez have paid about $2 billion in state and local taxes, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economy Policy. Under DACA, Dreamers are not eligible for Medicaid, Obamacare or federal financial aid.

Lisa Sherman-Nickolaus, policy director at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said living with uncertainty since the Trump administration announced it would end DACA has been difficult. But people such as Gonzalez are persevering.

"They're also incredibly resilient. And so they're organizing, they're not just sitting down and waiting for Congress to act," Sherman-Nickolaus said. "They're getting out there, they're leading marches, they're mobilizing their communities, their educators, their families, their friends in order to press Congress for a clean Dream Act."

Gonzalez changed his college major to public health after the DACA program changes were announced by President Donald Trump earlier this year, because it meant he could complete his degree before the December deadline when he risks deportation. He previously planned to become a nurse or a doctor.

"Even if I don't have legal status, I at least want to get a degree so I can have something to my name,” he said. "It's like my future is being waved in front of me. Part of me just kind of wants to know, can I accomplish my dreams in this country, yes or no?"

This week, the Department of Homeland Security ended Temporary Protected Status or some immigrants. The TPS program was created in 1990 to protect people who could not return to their home country for threat of political unrest or environmental disaster.

Stephanie Carson/Cynthia Howard, Public News Service - TN