November 15, 2016 07:54 AM
Immigration has been a cornerstone of President-elect Donald Trump's campaign. It remains to be seen whether he will keep his promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.
The protections granted to immigrant students and workers may be in jeopardy, too.
“That fear is always there, we just kind of become numb to it,” said 18-year-old Mariana.
Mariana is like a little sister, the youngest in a tight band of friends fused by uncertainty.
“I had never been scared of being myself until the election happened," she said. "And then, oh wait, I forget. I'm Mexican. I'm brown.”
Mariana's deferred action status is pending. A repeal of President Barack Obama's executive order granting temporary relief could mean eventual deportation for her.
“I was 2,” she said. “What could I have said to my parents? ‘No, let's not go because this is going to happen.’ I was 2.”
If Mariana is like the little sister, Cindy Nava is like the big sister. She is also undocumented and living in the United States under Obama's sweeping executive action called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which granted temporary relief and work permits to undocumented immigrants. It includes students.
She is in a different column. Her entire family is undocumented.
“It's just really, really concerning,” she said. “There's a lot of fear and lot of anxiety that comes with it. There's just so many feelings. For me, it just really comes down to being concerned about my siblings.”
Eva Eitzen at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center said with DACA up in the air, undocumented immigrants who apply now could end up exposing their status unnecessarily.
“President-elect Trump is likely to end DACA, and we don't know yet if he will immediately revoke work permits that were issued under DACA, or if he will simply let it lapse,” she said.
“If someone is eligible for DACA but they have not yet applied, we recommend that they do not apply.”
For students like Mariana still awaiting approval or renewal, Eitzen advises they hurry before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
Updated: November 15, 2016 07:54 AM
Created: November 14, 2016 09:59 PM
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