U of I DACA students uncertain and worried about the future
42,000 people in Illinois will be impacted by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and some of those DACA recipients impacted live in Champaign-Urbana.
Some University of Illinois DACA students said it is like waking up every day and not knowing what's going to happen. They said their anxiety and fears have eventually turned into uncertainty about their future goals, plans and dreams. Rubi Conchas Lopez and Ana Rodas are both DACA recipients and seniors at the university.
“I think we're all afraid in some sense,” U of I DACA senior Rubi Conchas Lopez said. “Some of us were just applying to DACA some of us were renewing, for some of us our DACA is about to expire.”
As most seniors are preparing for post-graduation plans Lopez and Rodas said they don't know what their future holds.
“After graduation that job hunt like where could I possibly go to continue living life?” Rodas said. “Like what would be my next step?”
Rodas came to the United States from Guatemala when she was 6-years-old and Lopez arrived from Mexico when she was 9-years-old. The two said over the years they built their lives in the United States -- the one they consider home.
“I think in terms of just like future plans I already have some plans and I don't know if I’m going to have to modify those plans now like to what extent and until when?" Lopez said.
In a statement U of I officials said: “As a public university system, we will always comply with all federal, state and local laws. however, our values as a land-grant institution compel us to speak out when government action puts members of our own communities at risk."
The university also said they are working with the American Council on Education and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to make their concerns known at the national level.
“It's allowed us to be a bit more independent from our parents,” Rodas said. “We're allowed to have jobs, we're allowed to kind of like sustain our own lives and still be part of the economy, still like help the country in any other way that another citizen is doing.”
U of I students are organizing a rally showing support for DACA and undocumented students on campus Wednesday at 3pm at the Alma Mater.
“[DACA] helps a lot of us stay sane in a sense and have just hopes for the future like everyone else and without DACA we get that taken away,” Lopez said.
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth responded to the ending of the DACA program: “Make no mistake -- this decision is not about 'rule of law,' as Attorney General Sessions claims. This is a gut-wrenching betrayal of American values that leaves nearly 800,000 of our neighbors vulnerable to deportation and tears families and communities apart.”
Congressman Rodney Davis responded to the ending of DACA: “Our immigration system is broken and it cannot be fixed simply by circumventing congress and legislating through the executive branch...President Obama said himself in 2012 that DACA was never meant to be a permanent fix. I hope together we can find a permanent, bipartisan solution that balances compassion and lawfulness."