SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Enacted in 2012 by President Barack Obama, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, has allowed children brought into the U.S. illegally, before 2007, to avoid being deported.
Since President Donald Trump took office, the program has been in jeopardy.
Kebin Lopez came to Bluffton from Honduras, with his parents, when he was six. His dreams growing up were the same as many Americans — until he hit high school.
“When all your friends are getting driver’s licenses, and you’re like ‘wait I can’t actually get one of those,'” he recalled. “Or you know, all your friends are talking about going to college and you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I can do that.'”
Thanks to DACA, Lopez was able to attend college, and now law school. Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling, stopping the Trump administration for ending DACA, allows more time to achieve.
“I was like, ‘wow that’s unbelievable.’ I was honestly shocked,” he said.
Jessica Bonilla Garcia was shocked too. She came to America with her parents, from Mexico, when she was 4 years old. Now a college graduate, her initial excitement quickly gave way to more concerns.
“My first instinct was ‘well great.’ It’s a breather, you know. It’s a sigh of relief, but when will permanent change come, you know?” she asked.
Bonilla Garcia says while she’s thankful for DACA, the program is time-consuming. Recipients have to reapply every two years.
“I have to reapply so many months in advance, and sometimes it takes months to process; sometimes it’s instantaneous,” she explained.
Bonilla Garcia says she, like thousands of others, is now looking ahead to the presidential election, hoping to find an ally in the White House.