Scores of young undocumented Black immigrants are reeling from suddenly finding themselves at risk of being deported from the only country they know.
KUT 90.5 spoke with 21-year-old Oluwatoyosi (the outlet revealed only her first name), a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who said she lives with the stress and isolation of uncertainty about her future.
She’s a chemical engineering major at the University of Texas, scheduled to graduate in December. Her parents brought her to the U.S. from Nigeria when she was just 3 years old. Her protection under the Obama-era DACA program, for those brought to the U.S. as children, expires in September 2018. And President Trump’s decision to rescind the program means she cannot renew her status, unless Congress passes legislation that the president approves.
Oluwatoyosi is among the estimated 2 percent of undocumented Black immigrants who have DACA protection. Feeling that their backs are against wall, many like Oluwatoyosi cling to a few lifelines of hope. She’s weighing her options.
Sponsorship from an employer is one way that DACA recipients, also called dreamers, can avoid deportation. But employers are increasingly hesitant to extend or renew sponsorships. CNN reported that some lawyers are advising companies to stay clear of DACA employees.
—Sponsorship by a family member
Many of the dreamers have a younger sibling born in the United States. As Business Insider said those who have an immediate family member could obtain a green card once that sibling is old enough. Even then, it’s a long process that could take many years.
—Network of support
Think Progress highlighted that there’s a growing community of support for Black undocumented DACA recipients. Organizations like UndocuBlack and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration provide not only a community but also services, such as legal and medical, to the dreamers.
Meanwhile, Oluwatoyosi and other dreams are keeping their fingers crossed that Congress will pass legislation to protect their status.
SOURCE: KUT 90.5