By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – Twenty-seven-year-old Luis Quiroz was six months old when his parents, from Mexico, brought him to San Diego to work in the farms and hopefully live a much better life.
California has been his only home since then, where he was educated, developed friendships, and worked full-time to pay for his college education.
Luis shared his story in a presser organized by the New America Media and Ready California on September 7. The conference with members of the ethnic media organizations nationwide was facilitated by Odette Keeley of the NAM.
Luis said that because of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), he was granted work permit that has sustained his education and enabled him to help his family. Both his parents were deported to Mexico a few years back. He currently works as sales assistant in an optometry boutique in San Francisco.
On Tuesday, September 5, when Pres. Trump rescinded the DACA, Luis’s life and about 800,000 dreamers suddenly became uncertainty.
Luis is set to graduate from college in nine months and may be able to work full-time. “With DACA gone, that option may be lost,” he said.
The interim set-back for Dreamers is the end of work opportunities and the probability of their deportation when the EO that created it expires on March 5, 2018.
Unless Congress enacts protective measures for Dreamers or passes the Dreamers Act, America will lose a young, educated, able-bodied segment of society who, with no fault of their own, were brought to America by undocumented parents.
The long-term impact would be economic, said Political Science associate professor Tom Wong of the University of California San Diego.
Ninety-one percent of the Dreamers who are now between 25 to 27 years old, Yong said, are gainfully employed and 5 percent of them have started businesses of their own.
They have stimulated the economy with an estimated annual income of $36,000 to $41,000, which is higher than any segment in the American public.
“Their incomes mean more spending, particularly the purchase of homes and cars. For government, it means more tax revenues,” Wong explained.
Most of the Dreamers are now on their mid-20s and are in the educated subset of society, because of their basic and college education.
“Since they were here at about 6 years old or at the latest 16, they are Americans, more than just a piece of paper,” he explained.
Allison Davenport, staff attorney of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, advised Dreamers to immediately consult with immigration specialists regarding the options that are open to them after the DACA ends.
Dreamers may be petitioned for permanent residence by spouses or family members who are Green Card holders or US citizens. There may also be work-related programs where they could avail of, said Davenport.
She however warned dreamers against being scammed by notorious lawyers and agents.
Quiroz had earlier expressed that he was preparing for the worse of DACA. “But it still came as a shock when I heard it on the bus going to school. I live in fear now,” he said.