Going into the shadows to stay in America? DREAMers face uncertain future

WASHINGTON -- President Obama has urged President-elect Donald Trump to protect so-called “DREAMers” from deportation.

They’re undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have assimilated into American culture and schools.

Ambar Pinto arrived in Virginia when she was 12, after a harrowing journey from Bolivia, through Mexico. Her father risked his life to get the family to the U.S.

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Ambar Pinto and her family came to the U.S. from Bolivia after a journey through Mexico. CBS News

“We crossed through San Ysidro, California, and then we took a five-day journey to Virginia to reunite with my dad after two years,” Ambar said. 

When Mr. Trump promises to deport illegal immigrants, Ambar’s father, Jerry Pinto, takes it personally.

“I am not bad people -- I am very good people,” Pinto said. 

Ambar is temporarily protected under Mr. Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The executive order shields undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers. The program allows them to go to college and work legally while they pursue permanent status.

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Undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, face an uncertain future under the Trump administration. CBS News

Mr. Trump has called the Deferred Action program illegal and unconstitutional. But he’s softened his threat to cancel it altogether, saying he’ll try to work something out.

Tolu Olubunmi is also a DREAMer. She arrived from Nigeria at 14 and says she feels like an American citizen.

“I am an American minus the paperwork - me and several hundred thousands of others like me that have grown up here,” Tolu said.

She now fights for immigrant rights, attracting the attention of the White House, where Mr. Obama praised her courage.

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Tolu Olubunmi was honored by President Obama. CBS News

“Until the day that I am told that I can no longer be here, then I will continue to fight to remain,” Tolu said.

Ambar Pinto graduated from community college and works for a nonprofit. But she’s ready to take her family off the radar if she has to.

“We should move somewhere where Immigration doesn’t have our home address,” Ambar said.

Going back into the shadows to stay in America.