Some students worried their lives could be torn apart, as they rely on something called DACA (deferred action childhood arrivals) to stay in the country legally to work and go to school.
“I’m kind of like in this stage of numbness, like I don’t really know how to feel, it’s like a mix of all these emotions,” said Mayte Lara, a Crockett High School 2016 graduate, whose tweet about being an undocumented valedictorian went viral.
Lara is now a freshman at UT, she’s studying with a DACA permit that’s not set to expire until September 2017.
“Hopefully the DACA program doesn’t get taken out because that would be really hard for me, I wouldn’t really know what to do after that,” Lara says. “My first thoughts this morning was OK what am I going to do, what’s actually going to happen?”
“I grew up thinking I was American, like I knew I was from Mexico, but I didn’t think it was such a big deal. I would wake up go to school say the Pledge of Allegiance and everything was normal,” Lara said.
Some say deportation could come quickly for Lara and others who are protected under DACA. “It doesn’t look good, Donald Trump wishes to sign that order that cancels what our government has promised them, he can do it,” Tony Diaz, an immigration attorney says.
For Lara says, Wednesday symbolizes a day of going back to the shadows waiting for the unknown.
“My whole life I’ve lived with the conversation of OK what’s going to happen if like your dad or I get deported. What’s the plan [my mom would say] and we always live with that constant fear so now it’s the same thing and if anything it’s worse,” Lara said.
She leaves a message to the future President Donald Trump.
“Prove us wrong. All the people that didn’t want you to be president, I think now is the opportunity to prove us wrong and do something and really unite us,” Lara said.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more than 1.2 million people have been approved under DACA since 2012.