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Rodriguez shares a few words for DACA participants

Papers+are+held+with+%27DACA%27+written+on+them.
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Rodriguez shares a few words for DACA participants

Papers are held with 'DACA' written on them.

Papers are held with 'DACA' written on them.

Oziel Valdez

Papers are held with 'DACA' written on them.

Oziel Valdez

Oziel Valdez

Papers are held with 'DACA' written on them.

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According to the Migration Policy Institute, every year one million legal immigrants are traveling to the U.S. in search of a change. Since the Obama era, Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has helped students like Josephine Rodriguez legally obtain an education in the U.S. This, however, does not eliminate any fear of being sent back to her home country.

“Sometimes I’m scared about what could happen to me or my family. I know that I can be taken away from everything that I know,” Rodriguez said.

DACA has been called into question by president Trump’s efforts to curb immigration.

“When I was little, I thought about it like, ‘What if I was illegal?’ The day after Trump was elected [was when I found out] I was illegal. [It has been] two years,” Rodriguez said.

You’re not a lesser person if you’re not a citizen.”

— Josephine Rodriguez

Since then, Rodriguez has been taking many precautions to maintain her membership in DACA. The requirements to meet are things such as having a clean record, being brought to the U.S. when you were under age 16 and having resided in the U.S. since 2007. These requirements have created a certain anxiety or fear that Rodriguez has buried.

“[It’s like], ‘Oh be careful, try not to get a traffic violation because [this might happen to you],’ or, ‘You need to have a clean record or else you won’t be able to [gain citizenship],” Rodriguez said.

With the many requirements of the program, Rodriguez keeps up with her  normal obligations citizens are required to do. The only difference is how her ID appears.

“I have to renew it every two years. My license isn’t like everyone else’s license and my work permit isn’t like everyone else’s work permit. I have to have one because I can’t just work legally without it,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez wants other DACA students to know that they are not alone.

“You’re not below anyone else; it’s not your fault. It’s America’s fault. You’re not a lesser person if you’re not a citizen or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “You belong here even though sometimes it feels like this country doesn’t want you, you belong here. You deserve the education that you’re getting, you deserve to live here. You didn’t come here in vain, hopefully.”

*The student’s name was changed for the protection and security of the student.

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