Q & A with an LA Dreamer: His life before and after DACA
Esmeralda Fabián Romero | September 14, 2017
On Wednesday Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced they are moving closer to a deal with President Trump that would protect hundreds of thousands of DACA “Dreamers” from deportation. However, the uncertainty among “Dreamers” remains as on the day of the announcement of the end of DACA last week.
Luis Eduardo (he chose not to share his last name), a current college student, who graduated from LAUSD’s East LA iconic Garfield High School, is a DACA recipient. He participated in a rally in Los Angeles that day and talked with LA School Report about his life before and after DACA.
Name: Luis Eduardo
Country of origin: Undisclosed
Hometown: East Los Angeles
What is your occupation?
I’m a college student. I will start my second year at the University of California Irvine (UCI) . I also work part-time in a fast-food restaurant. I want to major in business.
At what age did you arrive to the United States? I was 4 years old when I was brought by my parents here.
When did you find out that your were undocumented in this country?
The truth is that I did not know that I was here undocumented until I was almost a senior in high school.
What was the most difficult part of knowing that you were an undocumented student?
It is that moment when you see your classmates doing the college application process normally and you see yourself stuck and that you need to reach out for help. You kind of feel isolated, and some teachers or counselors don’t even know how to deal with undocumented students, so that makes it even more difficult.
Did you know where to find support or resources in your situation?
I was aware of CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights) and I reached out to them for help and process my DACA protection. Since then I have been very involved in activities to mobilize my community in favor of keeping DACA.
When does your DACA permit expire and what is your plan after that?
It expires in January, but I will renew it for another two years.
How do you feel about the announcement to end DACA?
I have mixed feelings. I’m angry, I’m sad. But I haven’t lost my hope. I know all of us are hoping for the best and we’re not defeated. If anything, this is a wake-up call for the immigrant community to pressure Congress for a permanent solution for us.
Do you fear that the government could deport you once your permit expires?
No. I’m concerned that they can act like that, but I’m not afraid because I know my rights and I have CHIRLA’s support and my community’s support as well.
Is there any other DACA recipient in your family?
Yes, my sister is also protected under DACA.
What’s your biggest worry?
The fact that my sister and I work to help support our family. If we cannot continue working, my whole family will suffer because our income is needed. But we will find a way to continue providing income for our family.
What’s your dream?
I want to start my own business because I want to employ other people. I would like to be the founder of an organization dedicated to helping immigrants like me and that at the same time supports Latinos to have access to education.
What would you like people to know about DACA youth?
We are not criminals. We are here to get an education, to work, and to contribute to our society. And that for us is very hard to hear that we’re not Americans, because we don’t know any other country as home.