Photo by Jackie Ramírez

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 Citlalli López

Arianna Rosas is a 28-year-old immigrant who applied for protection under DACA and was able to obtain a work permit under the program. She works in the human resources department of an elderly care company, where she helps manage some 50 caregivers. Our youth reporter Citlalli López spoke with her shortly after the DACA announcement.

How are you doing with the government’s decision to rescind DACA?

So, I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen with the whole DACA [program]. It wasn’t until the United States [elected] Donald Trump I knew it was going to change. I think everyone knew it was going to change. With all these [anti immigrant] policies we knew it was going to come. We didn’t know how, or when it was going to come,  or how quickly. Right now, It’s a lot of mixed emotions that I have right now… confusion, loss, anger, and afraid of what’s going to happen next. I’ve got think about what’s gonna happen during the six-month period that they are giving to Congress to fix the program. We really don’t know.  We’re back in limbo, back in the place that we were in 2012.  I mean it’s just a very very difficult situation.

How long have you benefited from DACA ?

I applied for DACA back in 2012 right after it was approved. I applied  and I got my first official work permit in 2013.  I have renewed my DACA three times already. Those were exciting moments. [I was able to see that  I could have a chance in this country.

Tell me your life story

I was brought here when I was a year and a half.  I never left the US, and I didn’t find out I was undocumented until I was applying to colleges. I remember when we were doing the applications. I  didn’t qualify for a fee waiver, you know, a lot of high school students don’t even know that you actually have to pay for those type of applications. It was then when i was like  wow. I am undocumented. I really felt like…. okay, this whole time I am undocumented and this whole time I thought I was an American.  I’ve never been to other countries. I don’t even know what Mexico looks [like] or were I was from. I’ve never seen what the money looks like.  I know how to speak Spanish, so I would be able to communicate, but  to send me back to a place that i never been to, it’s like why? This is my home . I said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in elementary school. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of where I came from.  I know my parents’ heritage and everything but if we send another person to another country they don’t know where to start from.

What was your motivation to get DACA status?

My older brother Julio and my parents. We don’t have money.  We don’t have land. We don’t have a big fortune. We don’t have a house in Mexico.  We don’t have anything . We are poor and that is something that I understood at a very young age.  [My parents] brought me here to become someone better, to have a better future. My older brother was always telling me that you always have to keep pushing keep pushing yourself. Being  undocumented I didn’t get the privilege of applying for a FAFSA , financial aid or any kind of loans. As an immigrant as an undocumented person we have to work double.  We have to do things double.  It’s  just been a struggle but  that’s helped me to be where i am right now

What are you expecting from Congress during the six months ?

I’m hoping they realize that we are here and we are not taking any American jobs away.  I had to push that extra mile to be recognized and be outstanding in front of my employers. At work we are always short staffed, and we always need workers. I’m the person that has to hire ,interview and do background checks. It is so hard to find people that actually want to work. I feel like everyone has a chance here in the United States, it’s a big country that has big opportunities.  You either take advantage or you don’t. During the next six months I hope that Congress could realize that we are here to work, that we are paying taxes like everyone else.   All those tax dollars are going to medical and to school funding. It is going to our military , so I don’t mind paying that money. For an application for DACA it was always $400-$500 every time i applied for it. I also hope [Congress] realizes that we make this country better. I hope they realize that we have no criminal record, the only wrong thing I have done is that I was brought to the this country as a little kid. They already paid for my education and invested thousands of dollars in me. Why spend so much money on me and then send me back?. If anything they should leave me here and have me pay taxes and make me create jobs.

What are your feelings regarding all the marches and protest ?

I feel that what the community is doing is amazing.  It makes us feel welcome. We really have to educate ourselves.

Photo above by Jackie Ramírez for Boyle Heights Beat.

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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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