Intersection - Missouri DACA Recipients Share Stories of Immigration and Belonging

Oct 24, 2017

Credit KBIA

Early last month, President Donald Trump announced he would end a federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. It's a program created in 2012 when then President Barack Obama signed an executive order. DACA protects nearly 800,000 people around the United States who were brought here as children without documentation, giving them a chance to work or study without the risk of deportation. Missouri has about 3,500 DACA recipients, and nearly half of them are students.

KBIA’s Hannah Haynes talked with two DACA recipients in Missouri and looked at what the Trump administration's changes to the program could mean for young immigrants.


* Maria is a Missouri DACA recipient. She was only 40 days old when she came to the United States with her family from Mexico.

"So me being here until I was 15 and wanting to get my permit and wanting to go to a trip in Spain... my mom sat me down that day and said Maria, you're not a resident. You're not a citizen. You cannot go, you cannot get your permit or your license in the future. We're here illegally. And that kind of, once she told me that it scared me because I said what's going to happen if we get caught here. I was really scared with that part. With that happening I was living in fear pretty much until I was able to get my DACA."

* Carol Schmid has a PhD in Sociology and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence in Law. She says that since DACA doesn’t make it any easier for a recipient to get a green card or become a citizen, immigrants who have DACA now could go back to being undocumented and in danger of deportation.  

"It doesn't really grant them a path to a green card or citizenship. We see right now that since it was an executive order not a change in immigration law that it can be rescinded with a new administration which is actually what happened. Although President Trump would like that the House and Senate to pass a new immigration law,  I don’t think that will be done in the near future. And that leaves, of course, the DACA recipients in total limbo." 

Producers for this show are Sara Shahriari, Abby Ivory-Ganja and Elena Rivera.