SAN JOSE (KPIX) – One group of people who had everything riding on this election were not allowed to vote. They are the Dreamers–people who were brought to the United States as children, but are not U.S. citizens.
Almost exactly four years ago, many recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were in tears over the election of President Trump who threatened to end the program. Now, many of those same recipients are still here, living out their American dream and breathing a sigh of relief that Joe Biden has been elected president.
“I finished law school earlier this year, and Trump winning could have possibly ended my career before it even started,” said DACA recipient Cesar Bautista.
Bautista said he was applying to law school and almost dropped out in 2016 out when President Trump was elected. But he stuck with it, got his law degree and now this young man, who was brought to the U.S. as a 7-year-old from Peru, is just days away from finding out the results of his bar exam.
He says the election of Joe Biden has given him hope that he can stay in the U.S.
“I was holding my breath since Tuesday, and I can finally let it out. I can finally know that I can continue working.”
DACA is a 2012 program started by President Obama that gives 800-thousand so called ‘Dreamers’ the ability to stay in the U.S., get a driver’s license and a work permit.
But President Trump campaigned against DACA in 2016, and turned dreams into despair when he was elected. At one San Jose protest, several DACA recipients wept openly. That’s when we first met Flor Martinez whose parents brought her from Mexico when she was 3.
Today, Martinez runs two small businesses and a non-profit that supports farmworkers.
“I’m glad that there’s opportunity and hope that’s back on the table that was taken from us for no reason,” Martinez said.
Although Trump’s efforts to end DACA were blocked by the Supreme Court earlier this year, there are still no assurances for citizenship for Dreamers.
President Elect Biden has not only vowed to uphold DACA, he plans to make immigration reform one of the top priorities.