The Trump administration will officially start to phase out the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – better known as DACA – at midnight Thursday night.
The following responses have been edited for length and clarity. Are you a DACA recipient? Call or text us at 951-39-HeyLA (951-394-3952) and share your experience.
The program has protected nearly 800,000 immigrants from deportation. Shortly after the Trump administration announced that its plans to end DACA, we asked Dreamers how that decision would affect their lives.
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It’s not just affecting one person in the family. It’s a ripple effect that affects entire communities, entire families to do this.
The worst aspect of this whole thing is that they vilify our parents, the original Dreamers, the people that made the hardest decision to bring us here, who left behind their entire lives to sacrifice all that they had to give us the glimmer and chance of a better life. And that’s why so many of us have no choice but to be successful. That’s why we’re so driven. That’s why we push so hard and are unwilling to compromise. Why we’re also willing to take bread crumbs when all we want is a fair chance. You know it’s not so easy. It’s not just affecting one person in the family. It’s a ripple effect that affects entire communities, entire families to do this. And I don’t think that people think, yes there are 800,000 that get affected, but the ripples are much beyond what they can gather. Much beyond what could be measured. We’re little rocks in a pond.
23, Van Nuys, Calif.
No one chooses the circumstances with which they are born into, but we can all choose to make the world better for those who are struggling.
I have lived in the United States for about 28 years. DACA was one of the few glimmers of hope I had to feel like other people and see a positive future for my life. I discovered I was undocumented around age 16 when I realized I would have difficulty getting a license. This goes on top of all the other things a teenager has to face just trying to fit in. I blamed my parents a lot at first but I know they were just trying their best to give me a good life. I'm African and I'm also gay man, so this other thing was also an additional challenge to deal with along with a world that sometimes seems like it’s out to destroy you with racism, stereotypes and people just not seeing you as a human first. No one chooses the circumstances with which they are born into, but we can all choose to make the world better for those who are struggling. I don't know what I will do when DACA expires, I'll probably just be another story for the news.
This is a human tragedy – to ruin the lives, families, careers, and dreams of ambitious, smart, hardworking individuals who have done nothing wrong.
I am devastated that Trump decided to end this program. This is a human tragedy – to ruin the lives, families, careers, and dreams of ambitious, smart, hardworking individuals who have done nothing wrong. I was brought to United States by my parents at the age of 14, knowing just a few English words, and have been in pursuit of the American dream since then. I graduated high school as a valedictorian of my class, and completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business management with honors. Currently, I am a vice president, user researcher at a Fortune 500 company, helping our company innovate and create intuitive financial solutions for customers. It's heartbreaking to know that all of my hard work is about to be discarded and my future is hanging from a thread. This is my home. I've spent all of my adult life in the United States building friendships, contributing to my community, paying taxes, donating, volunteering and doing my best to be a good citizen of this country. How am I seen as a threat to United States?
32, Los Angeles
Now I’m fearing that my life is going to end. That my life has no direction because of this legal status that I have that was imposed on me without me choosing.
I have been part of the program for more than four years. One of the main reasons why I was afraid to even apply for DACA was because of this. I didn’t know if it was going to end. What are they going to do when they end it? Are they going to go to our house and deport us? I’ve been here since I was 5 years old. My whole life is here. I went to kindergarten here. I never had to think about any legal status until I went into the adult world. I went to elementary – I was in the honors program until college. College was when life got real and I needed to get a job. But who’s going to want to hire someone who’s undocumented? Someone who was brought here when they were 5 years old? It was very difficult even just to be motivated to move on in life. But you know, in regards to all of that. I did go to school.
It’s just so crazy. Now I’m fearing that my life is going to end. That my life has no direction because of this legal status that I have that was imposed on me without me choosing. I was a child. You know I was brought here by my parents. And my parents, they aren’t devious people and it’s their fault that I’m in this position. My parents wanted the best life for me. So what they did is they went to a new country. Right? America. And they were trying to provide what every other immigrant parent wants for their child – a better life.
The decision to end DACA has been upsetting and has given me a sense of helplessness.
I was brought to this country by my parents at the age of 5 in hopes of a better future. I have been with the DACA program since 2012. Thanks to this program, I graduated last year with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from CSULB. I am currently a full-time personal banker working with Wells Fargo. The decision to end DACA has been upsetting and has given me a sense of helplessness.
Just last year, I was able to start my life, and now it’s being taken away from me.
This law has allowed me to do so many things that I wasn’t able to do before. I’ve been in this country for more than 15 years and just last year I was able to be legal here. Just last year, I was able to apply for that status. Just last year, I was able to start my life, and now it’s being taken away from me. My DACA expires August of next year and after that I don’t know what’s going to happen because I pay for my apartment, I lease it – pay monthly rent. Without being able to work, I don’t know what’s going to happen. My future is unclear and I’m terrified for my life, and every day it seems as if we’re falling into a black hole. As Dreamers, we don’t deserve this.
Miami Beach, Fla.
We are American and deserving of everything we have worked hard for.
I currently work at USC where I also attend as a graduate student. I'm also a mother, a wife and daughter deeply saddened by the continuous attacks on minorities and immigrants. We are American and deserving of everything we have worked hard for. We have to encourage the angry and misinformed to walk in our shoes and realize that we do not get handouts, we pay taxes and contribute to this nation and our community every day socially and economically. I refuse to live in fear and in hiding, I am not a criminal and we will not let the powers that be make us feel as such. I have been part of this program since 2012. And DACA has allowed me to not only dream, but do.
28, Los Angeles
And just like that, their wings were torn away from them...
18, Vancouver, Wash.
Everything I worked so hard for, everything I have built and everything I accomplished will be worth nothing.
When my application got approved, it was the most wonderful feeling of accomplishment. It brought me confidence into my life and happiness because I wasn't afraid anymore to go to places – to go miles away to see other places and other people. DACA helped me push forward to achieve my registered nurse license. DACA gave me a Social Security that allowed me to build up a credit, to get a driver’s license, to stay here and not be afraid to be deported. DACA made me feel like I was one of this country's citizens. Even though my permit had an expiration date, I always knew I could renew it. DACA helped me get a job – a job that helped me support mi familia, helped me pay my bills, my gas and my school. If DACA was to come to an end, everything I worked so hard for, everything I have built and everything I accomplished will be worth nothing. All the time invested will be long gone and worth nothing. Without DACA, I will go back to being an immigrant student with dreams. We've come so far to just see this dream go into the air like dust. "I am a Dreamer."
Leyni Rosas Cuevas
If DACA is taken away, everything will be taken from me. My family, my education, my friends, my pets, my favorite place to hike, all the little things that made my home, home.
I came to the United States at the age of 3. The country I was living in was in bad conditions and my parents wanted a better life for me. I have watched my dad work from morning until night, then go to school just so he can provide for us. He has raised me to be a bright, intelligent young woman. We have gone through financial struggles our whole lives, so I always worked harder knowing that as an immigrant, money doesn't come easy. I always had to watch my friends get jobs, licenses, travel together and I was always excluded. I could never go on the trips or get a job and buy myself nice things or even get a car. I went through a lot of depression because of the quality of life my family and I were living. Finally DACA came out and I was so excited. Besides traveling, I can now work and drive and be a normal teenager! I finally got a job and I felt happy again! I had friends, I had my own income, I felt independent and ready for my future! I'm doing my psychology major now and I have never been so passionate about something. I have so much knowledge and love to contribute to this country and if DACA is taken away, everything will be taken from me. My family, my education, my friends, my pets, my favorite place to hike, all the little things that made my home, home. I don't have a house in my native country, I don't have any connections. I would be lost in a foreign country, needing to start my whole life over at 21. I will continue to do whatever I can to fight for my home.
21, Los Angeles
Hopefully Congress will help us DACA recipients to a long-term solution, instead of this Band-Aid fix that DACA is.
I am a DACA recipient. With DACA I was able to go back to school. I’m earning my bachelor's in sociology. Also, I purchased land to build a new home. Our plans in 2018 were to build about a 1,500-square-foot home. But due to the circumstances that DACA has turned to, our plans are being put on hold until further notice. And hopefully Congress will help us DACA recipients to a long-term solution, instead of this Band-Aid fix that DACA is.
On a daily basis I help Americans of every color race, background and religion.
I was brought to the U.S. illegally at the age of 9 from a small village in Honduras. I finished high school in 2012 and because of President Obama’s DACA, I'm a full-time assistant nurse at Casa Colina Hospital in Pomona, Calif., where I take care of patients that undergo a variety of medical surgeries and procedures. On a daily basis I help Americans of every color race, background and religion. I help veterans, law enforcement, teachers and lawyers. Not because it's my job to do so but because it's my passion. In addition, I'm a part-time student working on becoming a registered nurse. I'm my sibling’s role model. I'm proud of what I have accomplished in this country, my country – the place I call home. Because I entered the U.S. illegally I was issued a deportation order. Ever since DACA was approved I've been protected from deportation. It's been five years now. But the decision Trump's administration took has made such an impact in my life. I'm scared Congress will fail to address this issue (like it has in the past.) I'm scared of losing my job, I'm scared of giving up my dreams of becoming an ER nurse. I'm scared of being taken away from the place I call home.
I just bought my first home for me and my daughter and now I fear everything I worked for will be lost.
I was brought here when I was 2 years old from Mexico with my entire family. I went to elementary, middle school and high school. I went to community college and became a registered nurse. Because of DACA I currently work for the state of California mental health hospital. I just bought my first home for me and my daughter and now I fear everything I worked for will be lost.
Never mind the lives I save on a daily basis, working 12-hour shifts in the ICU, saving your mom, your dad's life or your grandmother’s.
I was 3 when I came to the U.S. I know no other home. Torn between two worlds and not being accepted to a place I call home. The United States has been the hardest struggle of my life. Never mind the lives I save on a daily basis, working 12-hour shifts in the ICU, saving your mom, your dad's life or your grandmother’s. Sacrificing my health, my well-being and my time with my family to be there for others’ loved ones. Being the last line of defense in one of the country's highest crime rate cities, Chicago. Proudly and wholeheartedly do I do that, day in and day out, knowing deep down that I still don't belong.
If DACA denies me, I'm at risk of being deported to one of the most unstable countries in the world, unless I can find a way to leave and make a life elsewhere.
I've lived here since I was 1. I came here from Venezuela. I've lived, worked and received my college education here. If DACA denies me, I'm at risk of being deported to one of the most unstable countries in the world, unless I can find a way to leave and make a life elsewhere.
29, Queens, N.Y.
When I was 18, I was kicked out of my parents’ house for being a lesbian. Without DACA, I wouldn’t have been able to find a job to support myself.
I’m 19 years old and I work for my county’s food bank. When I was 18, I was kicked out of my parents’ house for being a lesbian. Without DACA, I wouldn’t have been able to find a job to support myself. Thanks to DACA, I bought a new car, was able to get my driver's license, rented an apartment and was able to get a new job to replace my old waitressing one which just wasn’t making ends meet. I fully believe that Trump’s position to end DACA isn’t about politics, laws or even concerns for the American citizen. It’s about racism and white supremacy.