Packed house at UTPA deferred action workshop

One-by-one students at the University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) packed an auditorium Wednesday evening, all anxious about the deferred action plan, and what it means for their future.

"The DREAM Act to us is just a fight away, so that's what we're going to focus in the near future," Candido Renteria said.

He is not only the person that organized the workshop, he is also a DREAMer, one of thousands of people brought to the country illegally at a very young age.

UPTA President Dr. Robert Nelsen told Action 4 News 600 students enrolled at the university qualify for deferred action on deportation.

"There is hope today, we haven't gone far enough but there's hope today and we doing the right thing," he said.

"They want to work, they want to pay taxes, they think of themselves as American, Dr. Nelsen added. They are Americans."

For Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) their plight of so called dreamers rings home.

"It is the biggest investment we can make, by putting our money in higher education," he said.

The congressman TMs mother and father fled war in Mexico and arrived in the Valley as toddlers.

Through hard work, they built strong family ties, deeply invested in South Texas.

Congressman Hinojosa said their story could be that of any young DREAMer today.

"They are documented, they're given the opportunity to get a social security number, they're given an opportunity to get a driver's license, they're given the opportunity to get a job."

The Minority Affairs Council, the student group that organized the workshop, is also working on spreading the message to other Valley campuses.

They are hoping to visit South Texas College and the University of Texas at Brownsville in the coming weeks.