DACA recipient shares his fears for future


September 5 was the already-delayed date for Trump to announce his plans for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program allows “˜Dreamers’ to apply for work permits, study in school and be protected from deportation. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to watch DACA end for the 800,000 undocumented immigrants and their families … so I sought out someone who would explain it to me.

Born in San Luis Potosi, his parents brought him across the border when he was two years old. He drives a modest car an hour each way on his commute to work, where he manages a retail store. Growing up alongside American-born children, he watched cartoons like “Spongebob,” “Hey Arnold.” His favorite? “The Wild Thornberries “¦ because I always wanted to travel, but I never could.” Because of his status, driving down the road was a risk, much less a trip abroad. My source has no recollection of ever being in Mexico, yet now faces the prospect of going ‘home.’ “Getting thrown into to a country where I really have never been “¦ where am I gonna go? I have no idea,” he said.

His earliest memory was in Wisconsin, where his parents worked on a potato farm. “They pay you nothing. You are forced to be there for 12 hours a day. You don’t get overtime. There’s no benefits, no nothing. And then you still have to find time to take your child and get him registered for school,” he said. “My sister, at nine years old, was cooking and cleaning, taking care of us.” But to struggle in this country was more preferable than remaining in Mexico.

“I don’t know where people get these insane ideas, that “˜they want to come here and get free things’ “” no, we don’t,” my source said. “Even with Obamacare, we have to pay the fee for it knowing that we don’t qualify for those insurance programs. Luckily, we didn’t get sick much.” It begs the question, what do immigrants actually get from being in America with DACA?

“We don’t get the benefit of federal student aid,” he said. “I worked my ass off my entire life to be successful “¦ I graduated with zero college debt, working and going to school.” College for him was lots of work, and very little sleep. So little that during an exam, he couldn’t stay awake while sitting at his desk; rather than give up, he asked the professor if he could take the test standing up. If there is any stereotype that fit this Mexican, it’s that he’s a hard worker. “Every single thing that I own I got from my own blood, sweat and tears,” he said.

Yet, there are those who believe that the best thing for this country would be to deport people like him.

“We provide jobs “¦ we don’t mooch off of anybody “¦ and we have to pay for [DACA]; it’s basically a self-funded program,” he said. “Every day I have to listen to them tell me all the reasons why I need to get out of here, and I bite my tongue every time,” he said. “But at the same time, the people who are against this program “¦ Where do they live? Do they associate with people like us? “¦ Most of the time, it’s people who haven’t been exposed to people who have DACA “¦ I don’t hold anything personally against them.” Now, he is scared that becoming a part of the program will come back to haunt him. “They have all my information that I gave them; my address, my work “¦ that’s where my parents live,” he said. Why does he believe he should be here? A long pause. Then, he says “I was ready to give my life for this place “¦ this place is my life. People who line up to serve in your military “¦ they’re dying to serve other Americans,” he said. As we moved to leave, I asked him if I could take a photo of the ID that will soon mean nothing. I wanted you, my readers, to know what it looked like. He paused and said, “How about you just tell them what it says? “˜Not valid for re-entry to the US.'”