By Pedro Cruz
Jesus Rosas, a 23-year-old Cal State Dominguez Hills student and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, has no memories from his home town of Zinapecuaro, Michoacán, Mexico.
Rosas arrived to the United States when he was a year old and hasn’t been to his home country since.
Prior to his DACA status, which grants him a temporary work permit and two years of legal status in the country, Rosas had difficulty finding a job because he lacked a Social Security number.
“By not having a job, I [wasn’t] able to pay for school,” Rosas said. “With DACA comes the permit of being legally in the country, [but] I can still be deported, and it’s scary.”
As a DACA recipient, he can now legally apply for jobs. This allowed him to quit his landscaping job with his dad, who paid him under the table.
Rosas does not have a criminal background and has filed his income taxes since he received his work permit. He feels his education and job security are being threatened by the new presidential administration.
“If DACA was removed, it would affect me because I won’t be able to have a job legally,” he said.
Though President Trump has expressed conflicted feelings about Dream Act students, the administration’s general attitude toward immigration has left Rosas wondering what his future will hold.
“It’s scary because I could be one of those people that could be deported for no reason,” he said.
He was brought to the U.S. as a baby for a chance to create a better life and have access to education, which is difficult to obtain in his home country.
Rosas plans to graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in social work to help people in his community who have similar struggles.
He also feels that his sexual orientation makes him a bigger target for discrimination.
“Undocumented and queer are two things that can make me a target for anyone that’s against the LGBTQ and undocumented community,” he said.
Rosas is not as alone. He is one of the 84,493 recipients in the country who were brought as children to the U.S. for a chance at a better life.
In California, there are 238,206 DACA recipients, according to data released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the 2016 fiscal year report.
The majority of these migrant children are from Mexico (655,498) and El Salvador (31,963) followed closely by Guatemala (22,821), Honduras (21,053) and South Korea (9,250).