Termination of DACA program presents problems for recipients


Selena Favela

Adan Rosales

While many students look at college as an obligation that must be met to live a successful life, Industrial Engineering junior Adan Rosales is only the second person in his family to experience college.

Growing up with parents who didn’t continue their educations past the middle school level, college wasn’t something Rosales and his family talked about. When the Deferred Action for Childhood individuals (DACA) program was enacted, Rosales’ older sister was able to begin her college career and Rosales followed in her footsteps. Though he sees having the chance to attend college as a privilege, Rosales still recognizes the struggles he faces along the way.

“We found out about it and just tried to go through the process,” Rosales said. “We had to apply for scholarships and grants and everything. I chose Wichita State because I’d be close to my family. It’s just hard to push through I guess because I can’t really ask my parents for help on my homework. I can ask my sister, but I don’t want to bother too much so I like to use the resources on campus.”

The DACA program is the only reason Rosales and his sister have been able to go to college.

“I’ve always been a good student, but DACA did allow me the opportunity to attend college and to continue on to looking for a job,” Rosales said. “It allowed me to work to pay off my tuition and just have some money for myself.”

Rosales took advantage of being able to work and worked at a pig farm in Southwest Kansas while he could.

“It was really tough because I started working there when I was 17 and I only worked with older people,” Rosales said. “In a way it helped me be more social with grown-ups, but also learn the value of education. That I shouldn’t settle.”

Rosales has also gotten involved in several organizations including the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) of which he is currently the Vice President, and the Hispanic American Leadership Organization.

“For both, it’s a lot of community outreach,” Rosales said. “For SHPE it’s mainly about producing more professionals in the engineering field as well as helping them grow.”

Since the DACA program has had such an impact on Rosales and his family, Rosales now feels stressed about the program ending.

For Tony Ibarra, Mechanical Engineering sophomore, the idea of no longer being protected by DACA is more than frustrating.

“I got involved in DACA because my future depended on it,” Ibarra said. “When our lives are in a limbo all because of a relentless act, you absolutely must put forth all your effort and time into making sure positive comes out of it.”

Due to fear of what could result from speaking out about the issue of DACA being ended, many recipients refuse or are hesitant to make their voices heard. Ibarra sees no reason to keep anything quiet.

“I understand there are DACA recipients who wish not to voice their opinions about this topic out of fear from deportation,” Ibarra said. “But there must be someone who is willing to take the risk and fight for our future. There are Americans out there today who do not support any of this and I completely understand and respect that, but for DACA recipients it’s worth recognizing that it means absolutely the world to us. Lives have been impacted by the termination of DACA on an unprecedented level, but we must stay optimistic in our actions and words. Something will get done, and it all starts with us.”

Much of the stress is because a replacement for the program remains unknown.

“I would say the potential of not having a replacement for DACA is what concerns me the most,” Ibarra said. “Us DREAMERs (including parents) worked exceptionally hard to get where we are today and for us not to see any replacement would be utterly disappointing and heartless on our elected officials behalf.”

For many DACA recipients including Rosales and Ibarra, there is no choice but to take things one day at a time and take necessary action when needed.

“I guess right now we’re all just scared of what’s going to happen,” Rosales said. “After our permits are expired, what’s going to happen to us? Are they going to deport us? We don’t really speak about it, but if it comes down to it we’ll just have to go back and start over. When that time comes, we’ll just have to figure something out.”