DACA Kids Fearful Of Losing Protection

Posted at 10:10 PM, Feb 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-05 23:27:25-05

Throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump promised to repeal "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" or "DACA."

This was President Barack Obama's immigration reform act which gave undocumented kids a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and a chance to go to school and work.

Cinthya Ramirez, age 21, left Mexico with her family at four years old. She lives in Nashville as an undocumented immigrant and has been protected by DACA.

"We come here to work. We just don't want to be here and not do anything. We want to work. It's opened every single door for me," she said.

Doors like graduating from Lipscomb University in May with a nursing degree. Ramirez will then take her nursing test in June, but she's fearful President Trump could repeal DACA before then.

"It was kind of becoming a reality that Trump could take it away," she said.

"You have to have some form of citizenship or lawful citizenship to be here in the United States, to take the NCLEX, so all of these years of school would have gone down the drain," she said.

President Obama created DACA in June 2012. It currently grants legal protection to about 750,000 kids who were illegally brought into the country by their parents. But with Trump's recent immigration bans, their future has been unknown.

"We need a solution, a good solution, that would allow us a path to citizenship. I lived in Mexico for four years. I don't remember a thing. It's very difficult to think having to go back there and starting a new life there," she said.

To help with college, Ramirez received help from the non-profit Equal Chance For Education.

"We provide college scholarships to undocumented students in Middle Tennessee, and we partner with seven area private schools. We're just trying to prove to the world that these students deserve a chance," executive director Molly Haynes said.

Equal Chance For Education was founded on January 15, 2014 as a Tennessee non-profit organization by Michael Spalding. Spalding saw a personal friend denied the opportunity for higher education because of her legal status.

The non-profit currently has given financial assistance to 92 students and has planned to assist 40 more next school year. To learn more about the non-profit, click here.