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 Xochil Ramírez
Boyle Heights Beat
Aileen is 17- year-old Boyle Heights resident who applied for DACA at the age of 16. Her older brother was able to get DACA as well. The program provided her brother with the opportunity to pursue a higher education and gain access to employment. Now a high school senior, Aileen fears that she will be financially limited when applying to colleges.
How has DACA changed the life of your family and friends?
Well, I have an older brother, he got DACA. I have friends who have DACA too. For my brother, it gave him the opportunity of a better education, and he has a worker’s permit so it’s just [like] the Dreamers that many families have. Now he can work professional jobs, and avoid [menial, harsher jobs that some] are forced to work in, because [they] have no other choice.
How will the termination of DACA affect your future?
Instead of moving forward, we’re moving backwards again. It’s like ignoring the past [five] years where DACA was in place. Undocumented people may go back to being afraid to put themselves out there and seek help because they’re uncertain about what will happen. It’s a hard or uncomfortable time, where everything can be put up for debate.
I guess [my brother] may get laid off, which sucks because you rely on DACA to be there, because it opens job opportunities. Even though I’m a Senior, college seems uncertain to me now. How am I going to get a job if I don’t get money for college?
What info would be most helpful?
What’s going to happen, what’s the next step from here, and I know everything is still unclear. I think for other families, we must let them know there is support in the community.
What do you think you or your community can do?
My community can resist by being there for each other and showing everyone that we stand together and that change can still happen; that we can move forward. We must create a supporting environment. We can also make information accessible for families who may not speak English.
How are you coping with all of this?
Well [at first] I was scared but I think my coping is knowing that there is a lot of resilience in my community, or in Latino communities, We can get through it. Knowing that I have support at school and with my friends is a coping mechanism as well.
Photo above by Jackie Ramírez for Boyle Heights Beat.
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