DACA Decision Hits Home In San Antonio

Sep 5, 2017

Tuesday's announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions put a timeline to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. 

This gives Congress six months to replace President Obama's executive order, or the policy will be suspended. 

For those brought to the United States at a young age, they grew up just like any other Texan with important milestones. 

"Like having to get a driver's license, or wanting to go to college out of state that the information comes out that they are not really a citizen, that they can't get a social security number," said Dr. Maricela Oliva, a faculty member at the University of Texas at San Antonio. "Very often they had no idea they were undocumented because they came over at such a young age." 

This is the case with 23-year-old Seven Flores. 

"I moved to the U.S. when I was 9 with my parents," he said.

Flores' family came from Monterrey, Mexico. He didn't know that was not an American citizen until his teenage years, when he started looking at his future options.

"I was thinking about college, getting ready for that, doing my best in terms of grades," he said.

The disappointment of finding out his lack of citizenship was staggering, but he was still able to attend college.

"And DACA came in and that was so much motivation; it made me work so hard in my college." he beamed.  "I recently graduated from Texas A&M International, with a degree in psychology and biology."

This experience has made Flores want to pay it forward to the next generation, by working as a tutor and a supplementary instructor.

"Over the past years when I was in university, I fell in love with teaching," Flores said. 

While Flores seems to have found his calling, his degree won't ensure American citizenship or even his right to stay in this country without Congress creating a path to citizenship for "Dreamers" like him.  It's a point that really bothers Marciela Oliva. 

"We as a society made a promise to these young people that if they came out of the shadows and did all the right things, that they would have this protective status, and today the federal government has gone back on that promise," she said.

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