We're a mixed status couple. For us, the Supreme Court DACA decision is a personal relief
DACA is not our ultimate goal, but as our fight for the entire immigrant community continues, this ruling allows many of us to breathe a bit easier.
The Supreme Court ruling blocking the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is a victory for young immigrants across the country and America as a whole. But separate from legal nuances and big picture analysis, it’s also cause for celebration and relief in our household.
We’re a mixed status, married couple living in Austin, Texas. One of us is a DACA recipient and the other is a naturalized American citizen. And like tens of thousands of other mixed-status families across America, Thursday's ruling allows us to breathe a sigh of relief and plan our futures with more certainty in our own lives.
We know firsthand why DACA is such a life-changing and important program.
Angie's story, from Mexico to Utah
In 1997, I moved with my family from Veracruz, Mexico, to Salt Lake City, Utah at age 5. Beginning in first grade, I attended schools in Utah where I pledged allegiance to the American flag each day in class. I was then able to pay for my undergraduate degree out of pocket at the University of Utah through the hard work and support of my parents — and through jobs ranging from babysitting to making and selling tamales. I graduated in 2013 and that same year, my DACA application was accepted, giving me relief from deportation and my first chance at working legally in America.
Because of DACA, I have a job today helping members of our community here in Austin find affordable housing, a job I’ve now had for almost four years.
I met Mario in 2013, at an immigration rally in Washington, D.C., no less, that tried to highlight the countless immigrant families who would be missing a family member at their holiday dinner table because of deportations.
Despite DACA being incredibly popular and successful, the Trump administration announced its plans to end DACA late in 2017. We remember the sinking feeling as our phone blew up with notifications of the news.
And since then — through legal battles and legislative trial balloons — we have had to plan our lives in uncertain two-year increments. The day to day uncertainty of not knowing the future of DACA and what it means for our lives takes a toll.
On the front lines: 200,000 DACA recipients have been working in occupations designated as “essential” by our government, including nearly 30,000 working in health care jobs at the front lines of the pandemic. Dreamers — and the broader immigrant community — have always been essential, but their contributions and commitment to this country have perhaps never been more needed or on display as right now.
Celebrate then resume the larger fight
President Donald Trump's plan seemed clear to us. The Supreme Court would end DACA and he would then hold Dreamers’ futures hostage in exchange for legislation advancing nativist policies like a sweeping new plan to tighten the rules on asylum seekers.But that plan has been thwarted, thanks to the court’s ruling and the continued courage and testimonials of others whose lives are directly affected by DACA.
Blame-shifting: overwhelming majority of Americans, across political ideologies, who support Dreamers and want our government to keep DACA recipients safe and working. We know that DACA is not the ultimate goal of our movement, but as our fight for the entire immigrant community continues, DACA status allows many of us to breathe a bit easier.
Now, new applicants to the DACA program should be accepted and processed and we all must push for a permanent legislative fix for the broader immigrant community as a whole. But for today, we plan on not focusing on the next legislative steps. Instead, we celebrate, knowing what one court ruling means for our family and thousands of others across America.
Angie Rodriguez is a DACA recipient and housing organizer in Austin, Texas. Mario Carrillo is a campaign manager for the immigration advocacy organization America’s Voice. Follow Mario on Twitter: @_mariocarrillo_