Two federal judges have temporarily blocked White House plans to end the program, known as DACA, which could end up going beyond the March 5 date.
That’s some relief to the roughly 800,000 DACA recipients, but most said it’s left them in limbo.
A reporter of China Global Television Network (CGTN) has spoken to one of them — a young immigrant from Honduras.
Thirty-year-old Ilsy Bu was born in Honduras. She came to the U.S. on a tourist visa when she was 12 and never went back.
She was 16 when she started working, but she couldn’t keep a job long — eventually her status as an undocumented immigrant always came up.
“Just to get a raise, or to get a better promotion, I had to take those ideas out of my head, because I knew that eventually I had to leave the job,” Bu said.
In 2012, that all changed. Ilsy signed up for DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The Obama-era initiative gave Ilsy the right to stay temporarily and the right to work.
“I cried,” she recalled. “It was just something that started, your tears just start coming down, because I just felt this relief, this heavy weight off my shoulders. Now I could walk freely.”
Per DACA’s requirements, Ilsy had to re-enroll every two years. Last summer, she said, the NGOs that were supposed to help her declined to do so. This, as the Trump administration warned it, would be ending the DACA program.
Without papers, Ilsy said she lost her job. With no income, she was forced to give up her apartment and drop out of college.
“It felt like my life, these 17 years, meant nothing, like I had to go back into the shadows,” she said.
In January, a federal judge blocked White House plans to reject re-enrollments. Last month, the Supreme Court refused to hear the government’s appeal.
That opened the door for Ilsy to re-enroll in DACA and she is now waiting for her new paperwork.
To people who said she “jumped the line” and cut in front of people who were waiting to come to the U.S. legally, Ilsy said this: “That’s not how the world works. People get out of their country to survive, because they realize that my life wasn’t just to stay here, when there are other nations out there that you can make it. And if there’s going to be a struggle, you’re going to have to pay a price, and me leaving this country, and going back to Honduras, and then closing the doors on not being able to come back here, I think of the struggle, the sacrifice my parents and my grandparents made just to bring me here, and that would just be automatically thrown all that into the trash.”
She plans to go back to Honduras one day, and run for political office, where she can help make a difference in the lives of others.