SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Marisol Cuevas is one of an estimated 66,000 young undocumented immigrants across the country whose future is left uncertain once again after the Trump administration announced last Tuesday that new DACA applicants would be rejected.

“This administration has been really clear that they’re not going to support DACA recipients. Even though sometimes the president says he’s all for Dreamers, he wants to support them, but his action speaks louder than words,” said immigration attorney Dorany Rodriguez-Baltazar.

Cuevas came to the United States from Mexico with her parents and three siblings when she was just three years old. Since then, they’ve lived in Heber City, the only place she calls home. Seeing the opportunities available to her two older siblings after they became DACA recipients, she worked hard to maintain good grades and map out a plan for her career.

“My parents wanted a better life for us. I was really motivated to do well in school so that I could be approved for DACA,” she said. “My siblings were able to pay for their own car and insurance. Sometimes they’d help my parents pay bills because the income wasn’t always good. My mother works housekeeping and my dad works in construction.”

According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, approximately 83 percent of the general public supports Dreamers and believes they should be allowed to work and live in the U.S. The Center for American Progress stated Dreamers will contribute as much as $1 trillion dollars in GDP over the next decade.

“It would be an awful loss for the United States if the undocumented immigrant population was not allowed to work or if they were deported. It would harm the economy of hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Rodriguez-Baltazar. “With COVID, we know that a lot of these DACA recipients are our essential workers on the front lines.”

She went on to say, “Some people think these kids are lazy, they’re here to take jobs, or that they’re criminals. But it’s the total opposite. To qualify for DACA, you must have a high school diploma or GED. You cannot have certain criminal convictions. These are kids that are contributing to our economy and our future researchers.”

Cuevas never got the chance to become a Dreamer, as she was too young to apply before President Trump shut down the program in 2017. But she saw a gleam of hope in June when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the program was illegally rescinded by the Trump administration.

After that decision, a federal judge in Maryland ordered for the acceptance of new DACA applicants. But the Trump administration is refusing to do that, stating last Tuesday that it will reject new applications while launching a comprehensive review and deciding whether it will pursue a new plan to end the program.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for them. One day, we’re telling them it’s a temporary victory. But now they don’t know what to do. We, as immigration attorneys, sometimes don’t know what to do either,” said Rodriguez-Baltazar.

Cuevas, who just graduated from Wasatch High School, said this means she won’t be able to apply for a part-time job to help alleviate financial burdens for her parents and pay for her own tuition as she starts her first year at Utah Valley University this fall. 

“It was really hard to hear that because everything that I was working for just came crashing down. I was working really hard and I just felt really down once I heard of that,” she said.

With the support of her family, friends, and community, Cuevas said she remains hopeful that one day, she’ll no longer have to fear for her future.

“They always try to motivate me and tell me there’s always a chance that they will bring DACA back,” she said.

According to a memo from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, the Trump administration will continue to renew DACA for the current 640,000 Dreamers for one year, not two as allowed in the previous policy.

Rodriguez-Baltazar said the administration has 60 to 100 days to make a decision on its plan regarding DACA, but pointed out that there is less than 100 days before the November presidential election.

“There’s always a calm after the storm and that the sun always rises. Something has to be done. We know that for two decades, Congress hasn’t been able to pass anything on immigration reform. This is the time for us to voice our concerns. Anything can happen. Don’t lose hope,” she said.

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