DACA beneficiaries await Congress with uncertainty

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STAMFORD -

The federal government's shutdown has come to an end, but the fate of young undocumented immigrants remains in limbo after lawmakers left them out of the compromise.

The so-called Dreamers, who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, were brought to the United States illegally as children. President Donald Trump has ordered an end to DACA protections, which could lead to deportations. So some Dreamers say Democrats backed down from the shutdown standoff too soon.

Senate Democrats allowed the government to reopen based on a Republican promise for a vote on DACA.

"I expect that Sen. McConnell actually will honor that commitment," said Sen. Chris Murphy, referring to Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. "And I think it'll be good to have an open debate on immigration."

But an "open debate" that hasn't yet happened leaves Dreamers in a legal limbo.

Lucas Codognolla was born in Brazil. His parents came to Connecticut and overstayed a tourist visa. He says Dreamers like him deserve legal certainty. And he says he considers himself American.

"I grew up in Stamford, Connecticut," he says. "I went to Westhill High School, and I graduated there in 2009."

Estimates show as many as 10,000 people like Codognolla in Connecticut. If Congress doesn't extend protection for them, anyone whose status expires after March 5 could be deported.

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