IDAHO — A recent announcement on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) has some Idaho DACA recipients feeling like the past few years have been a roller-coaster ride of emotions.
"It’s been a constant battle,” said Monica Carrillo, a Sun Valley resident & DACA recipient.
“I feel like there’s been a lot of ups and downs. I do think there’s a lot of hopes right now,” said Rosseli Guerrero, also a DACA recipient.
Guerrero emigrated to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico at five years old with her parents. Carrillo also came to the U.S. at a young age with her parents. Both are DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers.
The Obama-era policy shields undocumented individuals brought to the country as children from deportation. The program allows DACA recipients to work and travel.
Guerrero credits the DACA program for allowing her to pursue higher education.
“Even though DACA is not permanent, I do get that safety net of not going to get deported and also the work permit. I’ve been able to land this job at the ACLU of Idaho and be able to help my community as well. It is a big relief to have DACA,” Guerrero said.
For Carrillo, the program gave her the extra boost to be more outspoken about her legal status and inspire others to share their stories who may be undocumented.
“I was super quiet, really reserved. I didn’t know where I stood in my community. Just learning more about the program and what it has done for me. I was able to speak out, not just for me, but for my family and for other DACA recipients who are afraid to speak out and share their status,” Carrillo said.
On Monday, the Biden administration took steps to address a July decision from a Texas federal judge who ruled the DACA program as unlawful. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new proposed rule stating it would ‘fortify’ and ‘preserve' the program.
The latest DACA update has Guerrero and Carrillo keeping close attention to Congress waiting to see if it will take action to create pathway citizenship for Dreamers.
“I’m not surprised if it’s something that we will be working on in December,” Carrillo said.
An immigration attorney with the Alliance of Idaho, a nonprofit in the Wood River Valley, explains what this rule process could mean for the DACA program.
“It was on the tenuous ground from the beginning,” said Luis Campos, an immigration attorney. “Because it was done by the executive fiat, once we go through the APA (Administrative Procedure Act) procedures, it would give it more a solid grounding for the foundation. That’s going to be a benefit more than anything. it will be much harder to challenge DACA in the future once it goes through this APA process. Ultimately, the best that we could hope for is a political solution.”
As DHS is taking public comment for two months, Guerrero and Carrillo will continue to educate the community about the DACA program and share their stories.
“I think not many people realize, when you think about DACA recipients, there’s no specific way a DACA recipient looks like. People don't realize that looks those our nurses that are helping during the pandemic, there our farm workers, our friends and neighbors,” Guerrero said.
Currently, no new requests for the DACA program are being processed. For more information on the program, you can contact the Alliance of Idaho at 208-309-5684 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org