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Montana DACA Recipient 'Upset' With Tester's Support of Funding Bill

Time is running out. Congress still needs to approve a must-pass budget bill tonight or else the government shuts down. The Senate version doesn’t include a fix for the DACA program. This has one recipient in Montana feeling anxious.

Montana DACA Recipient 'Upset' With Tester's Support of Funding Bill

Credit Office of Jon Tester

Taking a break from her hospital job in Missoula, Nereyda Calero says she’s disappointed the senate agreed to a budget bill without a DACA extension

“I feel like they just left us," she says. "They put us on the side and they think that we can wait. And we can’t.”

Calero was eight years old when she and her parents entered the country undetected from Mexico. Now she’s a DACA recipient. The program gives young undocumented immigrants a chance to stay in the country. But it’s supposed to end next month.

Montana’s Democratic Senator, Jon Tester, voiced his support for a budget agreement that doesn’t include a DACA extension or path to citizenship. Calero says that upsets her.

“I expected more," she says. "Way, way more support from him and from many others. And it just feels like they are giving up on us.”

She met with the senator in D.C. two months ago.

“He said he would try and support us," she says. "And he said you are an American and you belong here.”

During an interview with CNN on Thursday, Tester said a funding bill needs to move forward regardless of DACA. That issue, he says, will be dealt with separately and in a “responsible way.”

Calero says she’ll lose her DACA status next year if the program isn’t fixed or extended. Her children are U.S. citizens.

“It’s not only me being taken back it’s them too," she says. "Getting forced to go out of the country.”

Montana’s Republican senator, Steve Daines, says the budget deal is a "giant step backwards" because it grows spending and increases the deficit.

Copyright 2018 Yellowstone Public Radio