TCC student speaks out against DACA decision

An estimated 800,000 people protected under DACA are unsure about what's next, including DREAMers in Hampton Roads.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) - Some states are launching lawsuits over President Trump's move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The Washington State Attorney General announced plans for a suit, and other states may join. Meanwhile, an estimated 800,000 people protected under DACA are unsure about what's next, including DREAMers in Hampton Roads.

Linda Pena and her family worked hard to build a better life in Virginia Beach.

"I came here from Mexico when I was 3 years old with my mom. My father was already in the U.S. We lived in Oregon and Washington for a little bit, then moved to Virginia. There were better job opportunities for my parents," she said.

Linda's father found a job in construction and her mother juggled four kids while working as a housekeeper.

"I’m so thankful for what they did, and I know they risked their lives every day for me and siblings,” she said.

After becoming a DACA recipient in 2012, the First Colonial High School graduate got a job at the Ocean Breeze Water Park. Now at 22 years old, Linda is juggling multiple jobs while attending Tidewater Community College.

But her dreams of becoming a civil engineer are now uncertain after President Trump announced he is ending the DACA program, which protects so called “DREAMers” like Linda, who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

"We worked so hard for this. I've contributed to society, I’ve contributed to the U.S. economy, and everything has been taken away from us. We don’t get anything for free. I think that’s one of the main confusions here. Everything that we have, we earned it. I consider myself Mexican from a heritage standpoint of view, but I consider myself an American,” she said.  

When the announcement to end DACA came down Tuesday, Linda said it was a flurry of emotions.

“Uncertainty, anger, sadness, confusion most of all, because we thought we were gonna find a solution. It’s scary! I’m scared. That’s 800,000 DREAMers like me going to a foreign country that we don’t know,” she said.

Despite the uncertainty, Linda remains hopeful. She’s been flooding members of Congress with phone calls and letters every single day. She and other DREAMers in Hampton Roads plan to go to Washington D.C. soon to protest the end of DACA.

"We are good people. We are good to society. We are not criminals. We are just trying to live the American dream just like everyone else,” she said. 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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