The following article was written by Red Ventures employee and DACA recipient Oscar Romero. As we await the Supreme Court’s decision on the DACA case, we anxiously wonder how the decision will affect the lives of those around us, Oscar included. We cannot begin to understand the fear and uncertainty that 800,000 of our friends and colleagues are living with in this moment. But what we can do is stand with them, support them, and continue to share their stories.
If DACA were to be rescinded today, I would have a year of work authorization left to work at Red Ventures. Once that runs out I would be out of a job. My driver’s license would also expire in a year, leaving me in a state of fear every time I would have to drive a car. I could lose my SSN, which has allowed me to open up bank accounts, credit cards, and apply for apartment rentals.
I would have to consider what options outside of the US may be available to me. As a Mexican citizen, going back to Mexico may be an option. The fear I have of my home country’s state of violence would deter me from seriously considering Mexico. Maybe I could emigrate to Canada. I would have to accept the fact that if I leave I won’t be able to see my parents for at least a couple of months. My parents went without seeing their mothers for over 15 years and they never got to see their fathers again. The idea of not seeing my loving family makes me sad.
I could possibly work as a contract worker within the US. For anyone that knows about the intricacies of establishing yourself as a contractor, you may understand that this isn’t a simple process. On top of this, I won’t have a driver’s license, so any need to meet with a potential client will depend on me getting to a location with the fear of being pulled over by law enforcement. Driving without a driver’s license can lead to a fine of up to $200 in North Carolina and $150 in South Carolina on the first offense. This is not inclusive of further challenges faced as an undocumented individual in the United States.
If I stay in the US for more than six months after losing DACA, I will accrue enough unlawful presence that I will trigger a three year ban from the US if I leave. If a year goes by of unlawful presence I will trigger a ten year ban from the US if I leave. It would be in my best interest to not accrue any unlawful presence and leave the country once my DACA expires. To avoid unlawful presence, I will need to find a new job, move to a new country I’m unfamiliar with, and file the appropriate documentation to immigrate to a new country all within six months.
If I had to leave the country, I would have to say goodbye to all of my coworkers at Red Ventures, my friends in Charlotte, and my family in North Carolina. I can’t count how many lives I’ve touched during my time here and how many more that have touched my life.
3 Things to Know About DACA
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a policy initiated in 2012 by President Obama. It allowed people who were brought to this country as children to apply for deferred protection from deportation and to receive work permits if they met certain requirements. However, it is not a pathway towards a lawful permanent residency or citizenship. They are in legal limbo.
- DACA recipients are given a temporary social security number and thus are obligated to pay taxes like any US citizen. (Undocumented immigrants who do not qualify for DACA also pay taxes using an ITIN number provided by the IRS.)
- On November 12th, the Supreme Court heard the DACA case. The main legal question the Supreme Court considered was “Did the Trump administration provide an adequate explanation for ending the DACA program?” If the court rules in favor of the administration, it will allow the DACA program to be phased out. DACA recipients will lose their work permits and will be subject to deportation. The lives of over 700,000 DACA recipients, including 434 Golden Door scholars & 30 Red Ventures employees, are dependent upon this decision.
For a continued look inside the life of a DACA recipient, visit Oscar’s personal blog.