Local DREAMer Shares Story

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 00:20:44-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) --  One of the hottest and most highly debated topics in US politics recently is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program.

WTXL spoke to a local DREAMer about this policy and how it's affected her.

Daniela Donoso came to the United States with her family from Ecuador when she was 6 months old. She didn’t find out she was undocumented until she was 13. 

“Even at that time when I was 13 and my parents told us that we were undocumented, I didn’t understand what that meant," says Donoso. "My whole life was in Miami. All my friends. I was in middle school."

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, OR DACA was announced in June of 2012 by then-president Barack Obama. Just months later, thousands of immigrants were applying for the program, including Donoso.

“We applied in August, and I received my work permit in January,” Donoso explains. “You have to renew this every two years. Here’s this work permit. With this work permit you can get your social security. With this work permit, you can get a license.”

A social security number and a license...two documents that most of us take for granted, but for undocumented immigrants within the United States, these two pieces of information make their life so much easier.

"Those that aren't registered have a rather tough time if they don't have legal papers, if you will," Dr. Ed Moore, the President of Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. "It's tough to get a job. It's tough to enroll in school. There's all kinds of problems with that."

For Donoso, DACA has worked, but she hopes for something more permanent in the future.

"Create either a pathway to citizenship for these students or create a permanent residence status so they're not in some degree of limbo where they are right now," continues Dr. Moore.

Donoso, like so many others, feels like her life is a political tool.

Last year, President Trump rescinded the DACA program, giving DREAMers until early October to reapply for their permits. Those who were unable to reapply before that date lost their protections.