By Henni Espinosa, ABS CBN North America Bureau

June 13, 2013

San Francisco – It’s been a year since president Barack Obama allowed about 1.7 million undocumented youth to temporarily stay and work in America through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and life has never been the same since.

22-year old Dean Santos came to the US ten years ago from Manila on a Tourist visa that soon expired.

“It was just two days after we landed and my mom sets me aside, she goes, ‘kung may magtatanong sa ‘yo about your status, sabihin mo, resident ka,” Santos recalled.

It was lie dean would have to live with for many years.

He was in high school, when he truly realized the impact of being undocumented. When he needed to show proof of residency to his high school, his mother asked their Filipino landlady for help. But when the landlady found out about his undocumented status, she not only refused to help, she kicked them out.

His mother told him never to trust Filipinos again.

“There’s this big distrust within our community about our status. There’s this stigma of being undocumented. That’s like the biggest problem within our community. There’s this big divide between deserving and undeserving immigrants,” he said.

In 2010 Santos made the biggest mistake of his life when he was arrested for petty theft and was placed in deportation proceedings. But DACA came just in the nick of time and he was spared from deportation.

24-year old Emmanuel Valenciano is over the moon now that he has a license to drive. Like Santos, Valenciano came to the US from Manila on a tourist visa when he was only 13 and ended up overstaying. His parents have always told him to stay quiet about his status.

“It eats you up inside. It’s really hard if you can’t tell anybody,” he said.

Valenciano said he felt embarrassed when he would go out clubbing with friends and he would have to bring his Philippine passport because he had no other valid ID to show. The biology major was worrying about his future in America when DACA came to his rescue.

“May future talaga siya sa amerika. Yan ang tinatawag na dream come true!” his mother said.

Undocumented youth in America are now getting more permanent help through the immigration reform bill. If passed, it will only take them five years to become US citizens, the fastest track ever offered by any Dream Act legislation.

7 Comments on this post.

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  • jorge buesa
    14 June 2013 at 7:47 am - Reply

    ComeOn who do you think that your doing good by telling us your SAD story about Overstaying in America you shouldn’t be here in America ! Why don’t you GO Back to where you came from and come back the RIGHTWAY ! ! In America if I BOKE THE LAW i go to JAIL your luck we tell you to go back home ! If your Mom was smart she tell you that you to come to America the RIGHTWAY not the WRONG WAY ! Go Home where you Belong !

  • medeliarightyracist
    14 June 2013 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Screw you Jorge ! Are you really a Filipino or just a wannabe Pinoy? Why don’t you ask your parents why were you born that way !

  • jorge buesa
    14 June 2013 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Hey Stupid I was BORN IN AMERICA I didn’t come here like you did GO HOME AND COME BACK THE RIGHTWAY LIKE THE OTHER REAL FILIPINOS DID ! Like i said to all of you that don’t belong here GO BACK HOME ! This is my Home not yours until you comeback the RIGHTWAY ! ! What your parents Stupid like you Don’t Understand that America is HOME to people that Don’t Boke the LAW ! !

    • medeliaright
      14 June 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      Hey You dumb butt hole. I am not illegal here, I came the right way as legal as you could get. So, what if you were born here? What does that do to anyone else, less of a person? You were born here right, then act like you were born here and not like you were born on some mexican slums.

  • jorge buesa
    14 June 2013 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    HEY why you Don’t know what is RIGHT OR WRONG ? We have LAWS in America if you Boke the Law you go to JAIL ! All we telling you is Go Home And ComeBack The RIGHTWAY to America like the other people that came to America THE RIGHTWAY ! ! What’s so hard about Doing that ?

    • medeliaright
      17 June 2013 at 6:12 am - Reply

      How can you say the law is right, if it’s broken? That’s the biggest problem with you extreme rightist, you only look at the dot in a huge white paper. You do not see the white paper surrounding the black dot. Kung sa tagalog, para kang kabayong iisa ang direksyon ng tingin.

  • O
    17 June 2013 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Its all Obama’s fault to buy the votes of the Illegal Alien lovers and supporters, by enlarged the Hispanics. You all think buying votes is a Filipino thing, well its well and alive in the USA. DACA is unconstitutional, exposing Obama catering to illegalities. Obama’s love for illegal activities are the testaments of his administration scandals. Obama must be impeached to revive America’s credibility, not only to itself but to the world.