Freeze on DACA approvals leaves 1000’s of Arizona migrants in limbo

Maria Benitez, who’s undocumented, grew up with hopes of in the future
getting protection beneath DACA, the 2012 program that protects migrants
from deportation in the event that they have been introduced right here as kids.

She says she qualifies. She utilized. After which the federal government shut the
door on her and 1000’s of others as a part of the continuing court docket
challenges to this system.

That has left Benitez, 19, an Arizona State College scholar,
feeling annoyed and nervous, along with having to deal with added
challenges to on a regular basis life that being undocumented brings.

“You need to do issues and generally you’re going to get nothing out
of it. You need to work further onerous simply to degree up with everybody else,”
she stated. “It’s type of similar to ready for a bit miracle to assist
you get what you need.”

Benitez isn’t alone.

The Migration Coverage Institute estimates that there are greater than 1.1 million
undocumented people within the U.S. eligible for Deferred Motion for
Childhood Arrivals safety – 44,000 within the state of Arizona. However
fewer than half that quantity even have DACA safety, in accordance with
the most recent knowledge from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers.

Benitez is one among an estimated 22,000 DACA-eligible residents with out
protection in Arizona, a state the place undocumented people can’t get a
skilled license, amongst different disadvantages. Benitez stated that has
led her to repeatedly change her school main.

“I do know that whatever the schooling I get it’s going to be
actually onerous to get a job on this, so it took a variety of time for me to
lastly persuade myself,” she stated.

Regardless of that harsh actuality, DACA advocates like Jose Patiño, vice
president of schooling and exterior affairs of Aliento, say they
encourage college students like Maria to get an schooling if it’s financially

“It’s a problem and it’s a private one. And I perceive when
individuals who have very sturdy grades determine to not go to school as a result of
of it,” stated Patiño, a DACA recipient himself. “However I additionally inform them you
are actually simply investing in your self. The primary factor to do is
at all times put money into your schooling.”

Whereas the Division of Homeland Safety stopped processing
first-time DACA purposes in October 2022, those that have protection
are nonetheless capable of apply for renewal. However the general variety of folks in
this system is steadily shrinking.

In accordance with USCIS,
there have been 589,660 DACA recipients on Sept. 30, 2022. That quantity fell
to 580,310 on Dec. 30 and fell once more to 578,680 on March 31, essentially the most
latest date for which numbers can be found.

For Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, there’s an apparent answer.

“We’d like a regulation, it must be codified, and till that occurs this
backwards and forwards, uncertainty, no certainty, goes to proceed and
that’s very very unhappy,” Grijalva stated not too long ago.

Benitez says not having DACA has left her feeling like she will’t ever
totally stretch her legs, dwelling in fixed fear of household separation.
However whereas she is not sure of what her future will maintain, she stays
hopeful that in the future that worry shall be no extra.

“That’s type of what my life relies on. You simply must take the leap and hope that in the long run it can work out,” she stated.