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Mayes joins amicus brief in support of DACA program and 'Dreamers' as program awaits court

Attorney General Kris Mayes is among a group of attorneys general who filed an amicus brief in support of DACA recipients and "Dreamers." The document was filed with the appeals court getting ready to hear the latest case against the Obama-era program.

Texas filed suit to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program several years ago and the case is now expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The program has provided temporary protection for more than 800,000 undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children. 

But there is currently no path to citizenship for recipients like Phoenix resident Reyna Montoya.

"There’s been ongoing litigation on the DACA program since 2017, 2018, and it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions," she said. 

Mayes and 22 other attorneys general part of the brief argue their states benefit from DACA recipients and urge the court to allow it to continue. Montoya says she welcomes the support, but permanent, lasting solutions must happen in Congress. Montoya is the founder and CEO of a group called Aliento, which advocates for DACA recipients, Dreamers and undocumented families in Arizona. She says many young people don’t even qualify for the program today. 

"I mean at this point, when you see the average age of a DACA recipient in the state of Arizona, it’s 29. So the majority of the students we’re working with in high school and college are undocumented," she said. 

That’s either because they’re too young, or because their DACA applications are stuck in the process. A sweeping border and immigration bill released by senators Sunday offers no protection for DACA recipients.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.