Every Monday morning, Reyna Montoya awaits the final supreme court decision on The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals court battle. Reyna, like 650,000 other “dreamers” came to the United States when they were just minors. Under the program, dreamers are shielded from deportations and certain protections are in place to ensure that they too are apart of the American dream. The final decision from the justices will assert whether or not the threat from the Trump administration to dismantle the program is warranted. As work for the Supreme court begins to wrap up for the summer months, a decision on the program is imminent.
My gut hurts,” said Montoya, 29, who was born in Mexico and relocated to Arizona with her parents when she was just a minor. “It’s this constant level of anxiety.” In her efforts to actively support the United States policy to protect undocumenetd immigrants who came to the country as minors, Montoya founded Aliento, which provides resources to other DACA recipients who are challenged with not knowing their fate. The anxieties and fears have pressured Montoya into thinking about the unknown. The uncertain circumstances of who will take care of her financial responsibilities like her mortgage or other tolls have caused immense stress for Montoya. “When you actually pause and think about all the things you need to think about, it’s very daunting,”
said Montoya. Other DACA recipients have children who are United States citizens, Montoya often fears for their security and troubles.
The 2012 program was put in place by President Obama in an effort to offer some short term protections for minors that came into The United States. The program offered work permits and protections from deportations which continuously need to be renewed on a two year period. Extensive screenings and background checks to qualify for the program were put into the program to ensure it wasn’t abused. Under the Trump administration, no new applicants can
enroll in the program. Those who have already enrolled are still able to renew their work permits and are protected from deportations. The fate of DACA has been in the hands of the court system, and ultimately the Supreme Court justices since President Trump called to end the program back in 2017.
Adrian Escarte, like Montoya, fears came to the United States as a minor. Since 2014, Escarte has been enrolled in DACA. The uncertain fate for the program has caused immense concern between Escarte and his friends who are also recipients of the program. Each Monday, they await to hear the news on twitter. “When it hasn’t come down, you kind of breathe a sigh of relief and say, ‘OK, we’re good for this week,’” said Escárate, who’s been part of DACA since 2014.
Immigration authorities have said they would deport any DACA recipients who have an existing immigration court case. Senator Dick Durbin, questioned in recent senate hearings how the deportation of DACA recipients would be implemented. Henry Lucero, head of ICE removal operations, said “there is no plan or current planning for that situation” but the agency follows all procedures that are lawful. That means hundreds of thousands of individuals under DACA may face deportation, possibly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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