High school grad fears deportation if DACA program is ended

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Undocumented immigrants across the country are anxiously waiting to hear what the future will be for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.

A decision could be made as soon as September 5, as many states threaten to sue the federal government.

Individuals that depend heavily on the DACA program are called dreamers, and they are people like 19-year-old Ruby Nevarez, who has been in America since 1999.

“I have been able to stay in school. I was able to go to work. I was also able to get an ID, and driver’s license,” said Ruby Nevarez.

The recent Wichita North High School graduate utilizes DACA, which grants her temporary legal status.

“I have had it since I was 16,” said Nevarez.

The program allows her to work and help provide for her family.

Nevarez said she’s on her way to becoming a mortician. But if the Trump administration pulls the plug on the program, that dream may come to a halt.

“My biggest fear is getting deported and getting fired from my job and not be able to accomplish my dreams that I have,” said Nevarez.

“A lot of us depend on that work permit to sustain our families, so it would be very devastating for the 800,000 people that have it,” explained Carolina Hernandez, organizer of Sunflower Community Action Immigrant Justice.

Hernandez also utilizes DACA.

“For a lot of us, we have our jobs so we can get fired from those since we would be illegally working again,” said Hernandez.

She’s been keeping an eye on the situation and has a resource link online for people to call to find out what they need to know if the program ends.

But she’s also taking a group to Topeka on Friday to speak at the capitol about why they feel the program should be preserved. They’re hoping to talk to Attorney General Derek Schmidt about the issue, who recently joined efforts to phase out DACA.

While it is a time of uncertainty, this 19 year old, is doing her best to stay positive for others like her.

“To not like be scared and to try to achieve everything they can while they have DACA,” said Nervarez.

We reached out to Attorney General Derek Schmidt to better understand why he joined other states in encouraging DACA to be phased out, but he hasn’t responded to our request for comment.

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