Editor’s note: This is one of a series of community profiles by Boyle Heights Beat youth reporters in response to President Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program announced Sept. 6.

By Katlyn Valdez

Boyle Heights Beat

Abby is a 17-year old Boyle Heights resident and high school student with two older sisters who attend UCLA and UC Santa Cruz and have both been granted work permits through DACA. Her older sister already works as a teacher and the second sister, who’s had DACA for about a year, works at Hometown Buffet and at a cafe in Santa Cruz. Although she herself won’t be able to receive DACA benefits, in the scheme of things Abby believes that all the attention being given to the termination of DACA will further improve the Dream Act movement.

How are you coping with the announced end of DACA?

I’m not okay with it and I’m not super sad. The way I see it is that people were already protesting for resources for undocumented people and then DACA was established as a temporary solution to the bigger problem. With them terminating it, I feel like more people are becoming aware of DACA and of the limitations that undocumented [people] have, it is bringing awareness, and we’ll start to organize and begin to demand the [enactment] of the Dream Act, allowing us a pathway to citizenship. In a way, I’m obviously not happy, but nobody ever knows when we’ll have a pathway to citizenship, so now we’ll be able to fight back.

What information would be most helpful to you at this time?

I feel like knowing my rights and knowing what I can do after college. I feel like people think that once DACA is removed we’re going to get deported and we won’t be able to work, but I want to know how I can work, because I [think] I can go into the nonprofits, but I don’t know how. For me as a graduating senior, I want to know what I can do after college.

What would you like to see your community do to respond?

Organizing is the best way. Overall, it’s getting more attention and getting people united, but at the same time there are more people opposing it too. But, as a community we just need to support undocumented students, and let them know that it’s not over. I don’t want people to think that it’s over, I want them to realize that this is just another barrier we must overcome.

Katlyn Valdez is a Senior at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights.

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Resources for DACA Recipients

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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