Why these DACA recipients traded living in the U.S. for other countries, including Venezuela
“DACA is the only thing, for me, that makes me feel American,” says A.D. “I grew up in the United States, went to community college right here in the United States, and I never felt like I belonged. I always wished, ‘oh, I could just go to Mexico.’ I always said that I wasn’t really from the United States. Not that I didn’t have a family over there — my dad and my mom had me in Colombia before I was born — but it wasn’t part of the family. I would wish I came over to Mexico so I could be a citizen, or be able to do things, but I never had that opportunity.”
Now, A.D. says, the pressure from her family — who worry about her safety — means she has to remain in the United States and work and learn Spanish so she can qualify for a green card.
DACA recipients, like the rest of us, aren’t asked about their immigration status when they apply to work or study here. Even so, many have wondered about the implications of their status, wondering if they will be able to stay here and stay productive members of society.
When we first asked more than 60 DACA recipients if they had any second thoughts about their work or schooling in the U.S. following being granted the protections, they came up in droves.
Some worry about the impact on their families, while others say they have more opportunity and more freedom to study and work in the U.S. than they’ve ever had in the past. Others are working and pursuing opportunities in other countries.
This is the case for A.D., a young, undocumented artist who was granted DACA as a senior in high school. She is now 25 and says she’d never have been able to stay