STOCKTON (CBS13) – Young undocumented individuals across the country have only a few short hours left to send in their final renewal forms for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Thursday’s deadline is part of the Trump administration’s wind-down period as it moves to roll back the Obama-era policy for immigrants who were brought into the u-s as children.
For the last five years, Sacramento State University student Rosa Barrientos has felt safe under DACA. But last month, like many young undocumented individuals, she lost hope.
“I was really scared and really fearful of what was really going to happen. And it was just really heartbreaking knowing that this program that has protected so many youth was going to end,” she said.
Barrientos was brought to the US from Mexico by her parents when she was only four-years-old. The program allowed her to work and go to school without the fear of being deported as long as she renewed with DACA every two years.
“The first time I did it, I was really anxious just because it was gathering so much information and gathering all this paperwork from the past year of going to school and demonstrating that I was here in the country,” said Barrientos.
After Thursday, DACA recipients will no longer be able to renew their permits as Congress decides the future of the program.
“I am in a state of limbo, in other words, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
El Concilio in Stockton helps about one hundred undocumented students every week.
“Many of them came out of the shadows under the DACA program, enrolled in school or getting a college education, or serving in the military, many of them have opened up their own businesses and over 90 percent of them are working,” said Jose Rodriguez, executive director, El Conocilio.
The organization received several grants that have been turned into scholarships to help these so-called dreamers pay for their DACA renewal fees. Leaders say those who miss deadline, might just be out of luck.
“More than likely, their visa will expire in March and so their protection from being deported is going to end, supposedly then. So, now all we have to do is advocate through Congress in the hopes we get some type of solution to this issue,” said Rodriguez.
El Concilio also providing legal advice and counseling through its immigration programs.