When President Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, over 700,000 young people who had been brought to the United States as children could finally realize their dreams. DACA provided work authorization and protection from deportation, fundamentally changing the lives of these youth, including Jorge.
When he was just ten years old, Jorge’s parents brought him to the United States. He grew up and went to school in the Bay Area, where he formed a strong community of friends, including his future wife. He and his wife now have two sons, Jonathan, 7, and Anthony, 7 months.
“This is home,” Jorge says. “Everything I know and remember happened here.
DACA enabled Jorge to get his first real job and to feel secure in the country he calls home. However, DACA requires renewal every two years, for a fee of $495. In early 2018, Jorge didn’t know how he would pay the fee. He and his wife had a six-year-old child and a baby on the way. They were struggling with a multitude of expenses. Jorge had his sights on a better job, and he knew his DACA renewal would be crucial to his plan. But how would he pay the fee?
At the Immigration Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA), he learned IIBA would cover the renewal fee and all associated attorney fees. With the help of an IIBA staff attorney, Jorge obtained his renewal.
Now Jorge is on his way to career advancement. He drives for Sysco, delivering goods throughout the Bay Area, often working overtime to make a better life for his family. He’s looking toward the future, too, studying to obtain his Class A license to drive larger vehicles.
“To be honest, I’ve never worked so hard for something,” Jorge says. “IIBA has been a big part of my story. For my kids, having this job is important. It is time to do better and be more selfless, for them.”
On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced the end of DACA. However, in January 2018, a federal court ruled DACA renewal applications must be accepted while litigation is ongoing. No new applications are being accepted by USCIS. This past week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Trump Administration’s attempt to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Supreme Court Decision on DACA is expected before June 30th, 2020.
This program has changed the lives of over 700,000 deserving youth. These Dreamers represent the best of who we are as a country, and their courage is a model for all of us. IIBA will continue to fight for immigrants and their families seeking a better life in the United States. Please consider making a donation to IIBA this holiday season to help immigrants like Jorge and their families.