SWFL DACA recipients anxious over future

Reporter: Rodaris Richardson
Published: Updated:

A new ruling is impacting children who came into the U.S. illegally with their parents.

A federal judge has declared the latest version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, illegal.

But the judge did not altogether terminate the program, and its protections for students still remain.

Florida is all Maria Tinoco knows. She has lived here for 21 years.

“I was born in Mexico, I arrived here, when I was 3 years old in South Florida,” Tinoco said.

She arrived in the United States undocumented but since 2012 has enjoyed DACA protection created during the Obama administration.

DACA provides relief from deportation to kids who came here illegally with their parents.

Dreamers, as they’re known, can work and get an education.

Tinoco took advantage of her opportunities.

“I just actually graduated in spring of this year from FIU [Florida International University] in mechanical engineering,” Tinoco said.

Maria Tinoco. (CREDIT: Courtesy)

She fears her American dream will be stripped away.

A group of Republican-led states went to court to shut down DACA.

The judge gave the Biden administration time to make changes, then ruled those changes still violated federal regulatory law.

But the judge left in place a stay of termination so the expected appeal can go to the Supreme Court.

“It’s kind of like, damn,” Tinoco said. “Where do I belong?”

There are nearly 70,000 other Dreamers in Florida still wondering what’s next.

“Every morning, instead of being able to get to live those dreams, they have to think about how their lives are political pawns,” said Laura Munoz, with the Florida Student Power Network.

Munoz helps DACA recipients, especially students, get the resources they need for success.

“Our role is to bring together those pains or struggles and bring about the healing that we need,” Munoz said.

There’s no timeline as to when the case might make its way to the Supreme Court.

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