by Jacobo Munguía
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has become a relief for youngsters who lived in shadows, as it stopped hundreds of thousands of deportations and offered the recognition of a generation which lived in the limbo of doubt and fear.
[pullquote align=”right”]“The benefits of this plan are many and despite that this is not a residence or a legalization, it allows [us] at least to have a tranquility [we] never had before,”
– Brenda Pascoe:
One of the 500,000 youngsters who applied for the benefit of DACA[/pullquote]
“The benefits of this plan are many and despite that this is not a residence or a legalization, it allows [us] at least to have a tranquility [we] never had before,” said Brenda Pascoe, one of the 500,000 youngsters who applied for the benefit of this plan.
Pascoe, a resident of Aurora, came to the United States when she was barely 10 years old and has lived here most of her life. Now at age 22, she tells how hard it has been living in this country without documents. “I was always afraid to go out. I feared everything—accelerating five miles over the speed limit, buying something with my credit card and being asked for an ID. It was very frustrating. In addition, I could not apply for credit cards or a loan for a home,” said Pascoe.
The benefits of this new law have offered Pascoe a new perspective to move ahead. “Now I can drive without fear of being stopped by the police. When I got all this, it gave me a lot of security. It is stupid because I knew that this is just a paper, but that paper gives me security, confidence. Now, even I will be able to buy a house,” she said.
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, DACA is a discretional determination that defers the deportation of an individual. This presidential decree does not grant a legal status to the individual. It is focused on certain youngsters who entered the United States as children, and comply with several key criteria. They will be eligible to get a work permit (EAD).
Applying for the Deferred Action requires multiple forms of proof of staying in this country. In the majority of cases, the process could be tedious and even frustrating. In addition, the uncertainty of not knowing whether this decree will be continuously renewed has resulted in many of the possible beneficiaries abstaining themselves from applying for it.
Such is the case of Guadalupe Sepúlveda, a resident of the West Lawn neighborhood, who arrived in the United States when she was 14 years old. “Despite that I fulfilled the requirements for the DACA, I do not believe that it is a good idea to apply for this plan. It is just a middle plan that will be renewed two times and we do not know what will happen after that. What about if after this measure expires Immigration decides to deport us as they will have all our information?” she asked.
Despite the fact that the DACA originally prevented the DREAMers from deportation, no one knows with accuracy what will happen when the presidential term of Obama ends or the due date of the decree renovation is reached. “The measure is a good start for undocumented youngsters but what will happen when Obama no longer has the power? Will they allow us to renew it or will that plan go along with him,” questioned Sepúlveda. These kind of questions seem to be more common every time.
Without any doubt, the Deferred Action gave a breath to hundreds of thousands of DREAMers, but this program has a lot of questions without answers.
This post is also available in: Spanish