Upstate DACA student calls lack of potential immigration deal ‘frightening’

EASLEY, S.C. (WSPA) – While the government shutdown may be coming to close, the future of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is still uncertain.

The program created under President Obama gives a legal status to people who were brought to the country illegally as minors. However, the Trump Administration rescinded the program last year.

“My nerves are just a little bit stressed out right now,” said Sarai Bautista, a DACA recipient.

Bautista attends Greenville Tech under the program. Although Bautista does not have to renew her DACA status until 2019, she would lose a lot if the program ends by the March 5th deadline.

“There are a lot of DACA students who have already lost their status, lost their right to go to college, lost their work permit, lost their driver’s license,” Bautista said. “These aren’t things that are really easy to live without and prosper without.”

Lawmakers have said they want to create legislation by the time the funding extension bill passed Monday would run out.

“On February 8th, 2018…it would be my intention to proceed to legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues,” Sen. Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell said.

Bautista said Dreamers want to see any legislation that comes about include citizenship.

“A lot of people just don’t understand why DACA recipients just haven’t applied for citizenship yet, and the biggest reason for that is is there’s not a pathway set by the immigration system for us to do so,” Bautista said. “We want to do the right thing, we’re ready to do the right thing, whatever it may take, education, conditional residency, whatever the hoops they come up with, we’re completely OK with that. We just want a way do be able to apply for citizenship.”

She says the life her and other Dreamers are living currently is frightening.

“It’s really hard to go to school and try to plan for a future and also simultaneously be preparing for disaster,” Bautista said.

State Representative Neal Collins (R- Pickens) filed a bill at the end of last year that would allow DACA recipients to receive in-state tuition, occupational licensing, and lottery scholarships if they meet qualifications. Bautista says she and other Dreamers plan to go to Columbia and rally in support of the bill on February 7th.