In 2012, senior Luis Soto Nampula received life-changing news. He would now be eligible to work legally and have a better chance to pursue a future in the United States, where he has lived since he was 4 years old.
President Barack Obama delivered the news that changed the lives of thousands of young undocumented people; he announced the executive order DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
This immigration policy addressed the many young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. These young people are often referred to as “Dreamers” after Congress introduced a “Dream Act” bill in 2001 that would have provided some legal status for these youth. That bill did not pass.
While DACA does not provide a path to citizenship, it does allow these young people to work legally and to be temporarily secure from deportation.
To be eligible for DACA, immigrant youth must have arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday, be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, and be in school or have graduated from high school. DACA recipients must reapply every few years.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has caused controversy since it was put into place, and Trump’s election seems to mean an uncertain future for DACA young people.
Soto Nampula applied for and received DACA last year. He applied to DACA in order to pursue higher education, and he is planning to attend college next year. Soto Nampula will be directly impacted by Trump’s final decision on DACA just like thousands across the country.
“Don’t take it away because many of us that are immigrants need the opportunity to get a higher education,” Soto Nampula said. “If it gets taken away, [Trump] just lost the hope of kids that want to be someone in life.”
Soto Nampula’s reasons for getting DACA and his worries about his future reflect the thoughts of many other students with DACA. Some colleges across the country have pledged to aid students in the DACA program. As of Dec. 13, over 550 university presidents have signed a letter asking the government to keep and expand DACA.
Due to Trump’s constantly-changing statements about the future of Dreamers, many are unsure about the future of young immigrants. Concerns were also expressed about what will happen to their personal information if DACA is taken away. In order to obtain DACA, young people had to submit detailed personal information, including their school and home information.
Throughout his campaign, President Trump claimed that he would undo former President Obama’s executive orders. Trump’s immigration policies gathered lots of support from opponents of the DACA program.
Dreamers began to dread the possibility of losing DACA.
However, in a recent interview with TIME magazine Trump stated, “I want Dreamers for our children also. We’re going to work something out.”
Trump’s mixed messages have caused confusion because some are questioning the course of action that Donald Trump will take regarding DACA.
The executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles Angelica Salas is warning Dreamers to be cautious.
In an interview with Eyewitness News before Trump’s inauguration, Salas said, “We are recommending all travel be completed by or before Jan. 20 in the event laws or procedures experience a drastic change.”
Many are advising Dreamers to remain cautious and to wait until President Trump reveals more information about his plans for DACA before taking any drastic measures.
For now, all Dreamers like Soto Nampula can do is wait until further news is delivered.
Photo By Parker Trevillyan