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DACA students optimistic about the future after proposed citizenship path

Posted at 8:06 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 22:19:43-05

MAGIC VALLEY — A path to citizenship could change the lives of many undocumented people nationwide. For one DACA student in Blaine County, it could mean being able to meet her grandfather in Mexico.

"The first thing that I think of is I'm hoping to see my family in Mexico. I've never met my grandfather on my dad's side, and that's something that I have always really longed for, to meet his side of the family," Monica Carillo, a DACA student, said.

Carillo has never been able to go back to Mexico after being brought to the U.S. as a child for fear of deportation and not knowing if she will be able to return. She said after hearing about the proposed citizenship path the Biden Administration put into place, she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders.

"Knowing that I'm making it for my parents and me as well, it's incredible, and I'm hoping that this will help others who are looking into getting DACA or get their citizenship and continuing their education," Carillo said.

Brandy Perez, an immigration lawyer in Idaho and lawyer for Community Council of Idaho, said DACA recipients were never guaranteed a path to citizenship in the past.

"With DACA, all you received was a deferred action, so the government decided not to continue with removal proceedings for that person," Perez said.

Although DACA protects her from being deported, Monica says there were always other worries. She hopes becoming a U.S. citizen will take those worries away.

"Just knowing that we won't have to pay for the two-year renewal, always being cautious around law enforcement, things like that. It's just going to reduce our stress immensely and our anxiety significantly. And we'll finally feel like we belong in some way," Carillo said.

The proposed citizenship path will offer hope not only to DACA recipients but also to farmworkers. Perez said this could have a significant impact on Idaho.

"Idaho is mostly agricultural, so there are many farm working families here who are immigrants. Often undocumented immigrants, so creating a pathway for them is going to allow them to have legal status, and they'll be able to come out of the dark and be a part of our society," Perez said.