Mariana Pineda had all her paperwork ready to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, as soon as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gave the green light.
But on Tuesday (July 28), the Trump Administration announced it will reject new applications and beneficiaries will only get one-year renewals.
Mariana says the news is a huge setback.
“You’re just working and working and working and working and just hoping for the best and nothing gets done. They play with our feelings. They tell us, yes, we’re going to give you this. But then they take it away from us. So, it’s like, why are you doing that? We just want to do better. We just want to work towards our dreams,” said Mariana in an interview with Reuters at the Cal State San Bernardino campus.
Twenty-one-year-old Mariana is in her last semester studying at a community college. Her dream is to attend USC or San Francisco State and study international business.
Even though the stance of the Trump Administration towards the so-called Dreamers keeps changing, Mariana remains hopeful.
“We must continue advocating for ourselves, that all that’s left. We must continue working towards our dreams because I do believe a change is coming,” said 21-year-old Mariana, referring to the upcoming elections. “It may take a bit of time, but there will be change and is best to be prepared when that happens.”
23-year-old Letty Herrera says DACA has been a huge blessing. She has benefited from the program since it was created, back in 2012.
“Once I was in college, I started working at the school district. being an intern. So basically, I had a job, was able to work, I was able to get my driver’s license. And I had that sense of protection from deportation,” said Letty, who came to the United States from Mexico when she was 8 years old.
While preparing to start her master’s in public administration at Cal State San Bernardino in the fall, Herrera finds herself torn. Her 15-year-old sister had just become eligible to apply for DACA but now she won’t be able to, unless a new ruling comes to light.
“She met all the requirements based on the requirements of 2012, and we had all her documents ready. We had her transcripts, certificates, evidence, everything ready. So, we were just waiting for DHS to give us the okay to apply and send the money. But with this decision, she will not be able to have the opportunity that I had,” said Letty.
Los Angeles-based immigration attorney Alex Galvez, believes President Trump’s decision has created a consitutional crisis.
“Very seldom do we see that a president is defying the direct order and decision by the Supreme Court. Remember, we live in a federalist democracy where the executive office needs to respect the decision of the judiciary. And in this case, Donald Trump is finding another excuse to delay the inevitable,” he said.
Galvez says DACA applicants should continue filing their applications based on the Supreme Court’s ruling last month, which states the program should continue as created in 2012.
(Production: Alan Devall, Norma Galeana)