As soon as Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Friday, the clock started. Among his hundreds of campaign promises, one stuck out in particular to young immigrants: his pledge to immediately dismantle President Obama’s key deportation-deferral program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Immigrants and the 752,000 undocumented young people who benefit from the initiative have been watching the minutes pass intently.
“I have kind of two options. Option one: Be super scared because DACA can end any day,” Abril Gallardo, a 26-year-old who lives in Phoenix, told me on the eve of Trump’s inauguration. “Or,” she added, “the other option, which also includes all these things being taken away from me, but I use those to motivate me to fight.”
I first met Gallardo in November, in the days leading up to and following the election. At the time, she spoke of her excitement at finally being able to transfer with her associate’s degree from Phoenix Community College to Arizona State University. She applied for DACA back when it was announced in 2012. The program grants two-year reprieves from deportation to young undocumented immigrants who clear a host of other hurdles (among them, criminal-background checks, longtime residence in the United States, and education requirements).
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