The plastic cards that changed Maria Sanchez’s life came inconspicuously in the mail one after the other. Each one was like a key to a future in which she could work, drive and go to college without the fear of deportation. This is the story of Maria, one of many young people who have received US citizenship under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) policy. Read about her reaction to receiving new rights, freedoms and opportunities.
The plastic cards that changed Maria Sanchez’s life came inconspicuously in the mail one after the other. Each one was like a key to a future in which she could work, drive and go to college without the fear of deportation.
“I started figuring out that it wasn’t just me,” Maria said. “People from my school that you wouldn’t have thought are undocumented are. Even for me, they were like ‘what, you can’t be undocumented; you’ve been here all your life’.”
Despite their joy at Maria’s new prospects, her parents and siblings are still undocumented and waiting for relief. Her parents have been in the U.S. for almost twenty years, about half of which they’ve spent here illegally since their tourist visa expired almost a decade ago.
“We’re scared … to know that my parents are in a situation where they aren’t protected. I don’t know what I’d do [if they were deported],” Maria said.
“You never know when immigration agents will come to your workplace,” Mr. Sanchez said. “And they take you and grab you. It’s a very ugly feeling to have.”
“I think we’ve contributed a lot to this country,” Consuelo said. “[My family] is healthy, studious, and I think we have the right to be here legally.”
“We’re seeing a lot of movement on the hill … We’re in a totally different place.”
“Initially I wasn’t scared because this was a great opportunity for Maria,” he said. “If Obama gave it, it would be fine, I thought. But I was a little worried when it looked like Romney could become president.”
“Becoming documented is like waking up,” Mr. Sanchez said. “It’s a great joy and hopefully it’ll be for all of us, right?”