Donald Trump

Members of Congress Ask President Obama to Pardon Undocumented Students

Dozens of members of Congress are trying to throw a lifeline to so-called dreamers, undocumented students who are allowed to stay in the United States as long as they are in school.

On Wednesday, 60 Congress members, led in part by San Jose's Zoe Lofgren, sent the president a letter asking him to pardon the dreamers before Donald Trump takes office.

Congressmembers said a pardon would not equal legal residency and only spares the dreamers from deportation.

For San Jose State University student Guadalupe Torres, a presidential pardon would be a huge sigh of relief.

Whether it is walking on or off the SJSU campus, Torres said she is usually looking over her shoulder. The college sophomore is an undocumented immigrant.

"I came to this country when I was 2 years old," Torres said, adding the first state she moved into was Idaho.

Torres is one of the many so-called dreamers in the country. But thanks to the deferred action signed by President Barack Obama, those undocumented students can remain in this country and work while enrolled in school.

There is also a fear a Trump administration would eliminate the deferred action and begin deporting students.

"It's a very real concern," Torres said.

The Congress members' request for Obama to pardon the dreamers is a move applauded by immigrant rights groupos.

"It takes a lot of courage for members of Congress to say we're doing all we can in order to protect community members who are in very real fear of deportation," said Priya Murthy with Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network.

Torres said a pardon would help her concentrate on her studies and not worry about being removed from the only place she knows as home.

One legal expert told NBC Bay Area it is not clear if a presidential pardon would prevent deportation. But the letter to the president references portions of the constitution that proponents feel allows the president to make this happen.

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