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'Dreamer' fears life in the 'shadows' amid DACA uncertainty

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 8, 2019 - Duration: 02:25s

'Dreamer' fears life in the 'shadows' amid DACA uncertainty

Maricruz Abarca is one of roughly 660,000 people, dubbed “Dreamers,” covered by DACA, which was created to protect immigrants who entered the United States illegally or overstayed a visa as children.

Now their fate is in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

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'Dreamer' fears life in the 'shadows' amid DACA uncertainty

When Maricruz Abarca learned that she'd be able to work legally in the U.S. and not be deported... under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, she was overcome by emotion.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) "DREAMER" MARICRUZ ABARCA SAYING: "I looked at my three children at that time -- they were so little -- and they were sitting on the couch just watching TV, and I opened the envelop and I started to cry." Since the age of 15 when she came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico to join relatives in New Jersey, the 31-year-old has been living in the shadows.

But with DACA, she felt she could felt she could finally make plans for the future.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) "DREAMER" MARICRUZ ABARCA SAYING: "Having the opportunity to be legal and without fear of deportation -- it was just a big plus.

You know, going to sleep every night without thinking 'what's going to happen with my kids?'" Abarca is one of about 660,000 people, called "Dreamers," covered by DACA - an Obama era program created in 2012 to protect immigrants who entered the United States illegally or overstayed a visa as children.

But now - Abarca's protected status - along with those of many others - is under threat.

After President Trump moved to rescind the program, he was blocked by various court rulings... sending the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Which on Tuesday is scheduled to hear arguments to decide the legality of Trump's plan to end the program.

With her fate now in the hands of the Supreme Court, Abarca says there's a lot at stake.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) "DREAMER" MARICRUZ ABARCA SAYING: "If the Supreme Court doesn't go in favor of DACA, basically, it's just going to be an end.

It's like, I'm just going to go back to the shadows and, you know, not continue my education, pursuing my dreams to become a criminal lawyer." The program helped her become eligible for lower in-state college tuition and provided security for her family, including her three children.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) "DREAMER" MARICRUZ ABARCA SAYING: "The future of thousands of 'dreamers' -- and not only 'dreamers' but American U.S. citizens -- are basically in their hands." With so much hanging on the decision, Abarca says she plans to participate in a rally outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday - her 32nd birthday.

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