Hortencia Ortiz Reyes is among 800,000 people living in the United States whose lives have been affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Hortencia recently graduated from high school and is now living in Pittsburgh. She is 18.
The Dreamers, as DACA recipients are referred to, have felt protected by the program — until recently.
DACA, enacted in 2012 by former President Barack Obama, provides people who were brought to the United States as undocumented minors with privileges not afforded to other undocumented people in the country. DACA recipients can legally work, study and obtain driver’s licenses. Most importantly, they’re temporarily protected from deportation. DACA recipients must renew their status every two years, a process that takes time (120-150 days) and is costly($465). The protection DACA grants is temporary, but it has been the best option available for many young immigrants who have lived most of their lives in the United States.
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