LAS VEGAS, NV — The Trump’s administration’s deportation efforts have been marked by disturbing reports of largely indiscriminate raids, and filipino Dreamers in Southern Nevada are among those who are in constant fear.
This kababayan, who asked to conceal his identity on camera, says that the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrival, or DACA, changed his life. He was an inch closer in obtaining his American dream in 2012, when DACA was rolled out by then President Barack Obama.
Fast forward to 2017, and many of his aspirations changed.
“I’m scared because President Trump pretty much promised that he was gonna leave DACA program alone, and he has a big heart… and then finding out that one of my fellow DACA recipients was deported with no grounds,” he shared. “The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t released what are the grounds, and they’re pretty much in secrecy with that one so it puts a lot of fear to me… and probably other DACA recipients, that even if we are not doing anything wrong that we could still be in trouble, and we are still in danger of being deported.”
He came to America in 2003. His dad lost his work sponsor, and eventually went out of status. His parents voluntarily surrendered to be deported to the Philippines in 2013 — a process that he was familiar with, but the deportation process gives him a different impression now.
“What happened from yesterday, that’s kinda in question now… from the looks of it, the DHS are getting rid of the processes of getting deported. They’re just literally deporting you. I was always told that everything goes through a process, it goes through proper procedures, courts, [you are] entitled to a hearing, to a defense… in this situation now, it puts fear on my head that they’re just gonna deport me.”
The undocumented immigrant adds that as a Dreamer all he wanted to do was study hard and go to work, pay taxes, and be of help to his family.
Hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are living in the United States, people who were brought to America through no fault of their own. President Obama granted protection to these dreamers through the DACA program, and relieved them of the constant fear of deportation.
“The essence of differed action is that it does not prevent the Department of Homeland Security from deporting individuals or trying to deport individuals,” said immigration attorney Vissia Calderon, “especially those who already have removal orders it just protects the individuals who was granted daca or a work permit under DACA.”
Calderon, a legal immigration expert in Nevada, says that DACA is a temporary relief that is not equivalent to a green-card the grants legal immigration status.
She also adds that the Department of Homeland Security and the executive government have the power to revoke the DACA program.
Juan Montes, from Mexico, is the first undocumented immigrant with active DACA status reported to be deported under the Trump administration.
“In this age of hysteria of panic, I always tell my clients especially the DACA recipients to carry their ID’s with them all the time carry a proof of approval of their DACA status; their work permit, even if its just photo-copies. I want it to bring it with them all the time to give them some sort of protection,” she said.
Pinoy dreamers here in the Silver State are not only hoping to be shielded from these arrests, but be unequivocally guaranteed that their protection will remain intact.