A lot of people have asked me about what DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) means and why I have not applied to become a legal resident/citizen of the United States already.
DACA does not grant legal residency (a green card) or citizenship. There is no pathway to get in line to become a legal resident. However, I am hopeful for the day I can call myself a legal citizen of the United States Of America.
DACA recipients are sometimes referred to as Dreamers because of the Dream Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) a legislative proposal from 2001 that hoped to provide people like me with legal residency. DACA was established by executive order in 2012 by the Obama administration as Congress was unable to agree on a bill.
The benefits we are allowed to have through DACA is to legally work and study here. I am so thankful for those benefits as I am able to serve my community as a registered nurse. I have been working as a nurse for five years in this valley.
We (DACA recipients) are not allowed to apply for Welfare, food stamps, TANF, FAFSA, and other government-funded services. I paid for my college education with help from local organizations that gave out scholarships, based on my 4.0 GPA, community service, and essays. I also worked through my summers, and my family helped me to the best of their abilities.
We can not have a criminal record to apply for DACA. I also can’t have a criminal record to practice as a registered nurse.
We can not vote- that is why I encourage those who are able, to do so. Please vote for candidates that support a pathway to residency for people like me.
If we leave the U.S. we are not allowed to come back. For many of us, this is the country we know since we were children.
We pay taxes. I have paid thousands into social security that potentially I will never see if I was to be deported.
DACA is not free. You have to reapply for a renewal every two years and qualify. The cost is $495.
Nearly 800,000 students and workers would be affected if the program was to end. DACA recipients serve in all aspects of our communities.
If given the opportunity to apply for legal residency, I would do it in a heartbeat but there isn’t a pathway right now. The United States is the only country I know as an adult. This is where my family is, this is where my fiancé is. This is where my friends are. This is where my career as a registered nurse is.