Trump immigration ideas worry Hawaii families - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Trump immigration ideas worry Hawaii families

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

On 60 Minutes Donald Trump repeated his pledge to deport illegal immigrants who've broken the law. He'd then consider cases of other undocumented immigrants.

"We're going to make a determination on the people that you're talking about, who are terrific people. They're terrific people," he said.

Trump's plan has many families in Hawaii worried, including a man we'll call "Dave."

"It's the hardest thing in the world to fathom right now," he said.

"Dave" wants to remain anonymous.  He's in the military and his wife is an illegal immigrant.

"I'm worried about my wife being taken away from me," he said.

There are about 21,000 unauthorized immigrants in Hawaii, and 2,000 qualify for President Obama's federal policy called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

That includes Dave's wife.

DACA enables those who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday to get a work permit without fear of being deported.

"That allows people to come out of the shadows and live and work just like everybody else," said Gavin Thornton of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.

Immigration attorney Clare Hanusz said people are calling her office, concerned that Trump will revoke DACA.

"DACA is only good for two years," she said. "A lot of people are coming up for renewals. They're not sure what's going to happen."

Through DACA immigrants can go to college and contribute to the economy.  

Thornton estimates Hawaii's DACA participants account for about $3 million in annual revenue. The pot of money is more when all illegals are measured.

"It's estimated that undocumented immigrants in Hawaii contribute about $30 million in state and local tax revenue," he said.

"Dave" and his wife have a young child with another on the way. Being in the service has its own level of uncertainty.  The immigration issue adds another layer of pressure.

"How are you going to be ready if your family's not there -- if you don't have that certainty that your wife is going to be there to take care of your kids whenever you're gone?" he said.

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