Earlier this week, it was announced that around 800,000 people would begin losing their protected status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program was formed in 2012 by former President Barack Obama. It protected those who came to the U.S. illegally as children, known as DREAMers, from immediate deportation. DACA also gave DREAMers working permits and the opportunity to go to school. Paola Gonzalez, a 23-year-old student at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is one of the many DREAMers affected by this decision. Paola immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of two and considers it her home. She now fears for her future and is afraid all her hard work will not pay off.
Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism
Reynosa, Mexico/ Mission, TX
When was your DACA status approved?
It was approved May 2013
When approved, how did you feel?
I couldn’t believe it. I was excited and in disbelief at the same time. I just couldn’t believe I was going to have a working permit and a chance to go to college. It felt surreal, it’s something I will never forget. For me it meant many opportunities and new open doors, to provide for my family and follow my dreams.
How has your experience with DACA been?
My experience with DACA has been great. I am able to wake up every morning to go to work to provide for my family. I have a chance to go to college to pursue my dream as a journalist and hopefully one day have my own business. I am able to travel and see places I have always dreamed of going.
What are your thoughts on the decision to end DACA?
I am disappointed. There’s so many goals I want to accomplish and even though I knew DACA wasn’t going to be permanent, I thought by now there would be more permanent solutions for me and others that rely on DACA. This is my home. It is the place where I grew up; the place that has given me the chance to become someone in life. What is my degree worth now, if I wont be able to work?