Federal judge grills DOJ attorney, defends DACA

A federal judge in San Francisco says ending a program that would protect some young undocumented immigrants from deportation would create a hardship for them.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup grilled a U.S. Department of Justice attorney today on Trump's justification for pulling the plug on DACA or former President Barack Obama's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."

Many undocumented immigrants in San Francisco are calling on Senator Dianne Feinstein and other democrats in Washington to come up with with a more permanent solution than DACA, which is being phased out.

Sandy Valenciano and 50 others, many of whom are brought to the U.S. as children and undocumented, protested in front of Feinstein's offices this morning following the court hearing, carrying signs and chanting. They're asking Democrats like Feinstein to be their voice in Washington.

"We're hearing of DACA youth being detained right now who could have been saved if there was something more permanent was fought for and they failed us," said Valenciano, a DACA recipient.

"The fact that we're out there again in 2017 pushing for a Dream Act that should have been passed decades ago is ridiculous," said David Buenrostro, with the CA Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance.

"We're out here demanding that they push the Dream Act with the budget."

President Trump's decision to end DACA spurred five lawsuits in San Francisco federal court.. The lawsuits, filed on behalf of the University of California, the City of San Jose, the state of California and three other states are challenging Trump's halt to DACA, a program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation

"We're gonna use the courts because that is what we're left with," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "And we may have to use every possible tool we've got in the toolbox to help our dreamers stay here."

DACA has protected about 800,000 people including college-age students commonly referred to as "dreamers," like Itzel Calvo, whose family moved to the U.S. from Mexico when she was four years old.

"It affects me because financial aid is only available for documented students," said Calvo, whose dream is to become a teacher someday. But that dream is up in the air. 

"If I can't have a social security number, a work permit, that's very unclear also if I can even teach in a public school," said Calvo.

DACA is not a pathway to citizenship but that's what Calvo and other immigrant children would like to have in place.

The DOJ wants Judge Alsup to dismiss the five lawsuits. He will be making a decision at a later date.

Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic senators working on an immigration deal said they are closing in on an agreement combining a border-security package with deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, although a final resolution isn't likely to come until January.