Recipients for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, at the University of Florida have been facing the truth about their future — they don’t know what it’s going to be.
With President-elect Trump headed to the White House, DACA students are unsure of whether they will receive the ‘deferred action’ status that provides recipients the ability to work lawfully and pay in-state tuition for their higher education.
DACA recipients like UF student Marcos Bruno have lived in the U.S for the majority of their lives. When he was 10 years old, Bruno was brought to Miami, Florida from Argentina where he attended public elementary, middle and high schools.
“I felt how everybody felt. You just didn’t think he could win, you just don’t think it’s real until it’s happening,” Bruno said. “It’s not the fact that he won, it’s the fact that what he stood for won.”
Although he is a DACA student, Bruno said he feels limited. DACA is a program that needs to be renewed every two years through President Obama’s executive action, one that is being passed on to President-elect Trump who could quickly terminate the program. When Bruno’s friends, who are also DACA recipients, heard about the election results they felt “doomed”, something he says normal students don’t have to worry about.
“Yea, I feel threatened a little bit. I feel threatened for me but more for my parents because I’m a DACA student, so I can work, I’m here. But my parents, they’re here illegally.”
Jose Abastida, a graduating senior studying political science at UF, has been vocal about his undocumented status in efforts to inspire others to move past the obstacles DACA students face.
When election results were announced, Abastida said the next day was hard for him to go through. However, he said he’s hopeful for change and wants to run for office in the future.
“I hope to be an example to many other DACA recipients that even against the system, you can be successful and you can make your parents proud and actually make something of yourself and contribute to the society that we find ourselves, in the United States,” Abastida said.
Gabe Lara, director for the Institute for Hispanic-Latino affairs, said everything changed after the election.
The fears of being an undocumented student were thought to be gone with DACA, but Lara says with the election, the focus of DACA students has changed.
“With this election, and the outcome of the election, those fears came back. So I think they’re refocusing and reenergizing to see what can they do again to advocate for themselves and how to move forward, and what it means for their future,” Lara said.
With the DACA program up in the air, a quarter of a million of DACA recipients are also seeing their futures up in the air. States such as California, Texas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and now Florida are exploring ways to make their universities sanctuary areas for undocumented students.