Dreamers look forward to President Biden’s new immigration policies

The immigration reform bill by President Biden is expected to be unveiled this week


Photo by Rob Walsh/Unsplash

Briana Munoz, Staff Reporter

Members of the Cal State LA community who are part of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program said they breathed a sigh of relief when they found out about President Biden’s plans for immigration.

The newly elected president said he would undo the Trump era policies as the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been restored. Biden added that he would explore all legal options to protect families from being separated and make it so Dreamers would be eligible for federal student aid. Other policies include putting a stop to Muslim bans and holding ICE accountable while also streamlining and improving the process for qualified green card holders. President Biden’s immigration reform bill is expected to be released later this week.

“I’m super excited to think that it’s not just DACA, but they’re going to expand immigration to cover everybody,” said Jaffet Rodriguez, a recent Cal State LA graduate, “It wouldn’t be a win for DACA if it didn’t include, you know, everybody’s parents and people who don’t qualify for DACA.”

Rodriguez is a DACA qualifier, and hesitated for many years on whether or not to apply because of the insecurity that Donald Trump brought upon Dreamers while serving as president.

“A lot of people weaponize xenophobia and blame immigrants for their own problems. I think Biden’s plans are obviously a humanitarian need, domestically,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he believes that Biden’s plans for immigration reform will bring about a sense of peace for immigrants once and for all.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DACA provides protection and work eligibility to certain individuals who came to the United States as young children. On Jan. 20, President Joe Biden issued several executive orders involving immigration and protection of the DACA program.

Noemi Hernandez, a Cal State LA student and DACA recipient, felt relieved upon hearing about Biden’s policies to protect DACA. Hernandez was able to get a job and get her own student credit card with the help of the DACA program.

Although some of her fears have been alleviated through Biden’s executive orders, Hernandez said she believes that there is still plenty that can be done for DACA recipients, especially those who don’t always have the means to cover renewal fees.

“We shouldn’t settle for just having DACA protected. Even though we do benefit from DACA, we should push for more,” said Hernandez. “It still feels like we’re in limbo because right now; with the pandemic, anybody could lose their job, and when it’s time to renew our permits, we won’t have the money for it.”

Cal State LA alumni and DACA recipient, Beatriz Cuevas, shared that the DACA program opened many doors for her, including the opportunity to get her driver’s license and a part-time job.

“I know some presidents give these ideas of hope and they never follow through but just knowing that the Biden administration is on board just gave me this sense of relief that I’m not going to have to be scared again,” said Cuevas. “I can speak on behalf of some of the dreamers that it’s a bit of a relief, but not totally until we have that path to citizenship.”