By Robin Fitzgerald
The Sun Herald
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article shares the story of one Biloxi woman who is among more than 2,800 young Mississippi residents with DACA status. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there’s about 800,000 Dreamers nationwide.
Carla was about 14 when she learned she was living in the U.S. without documentation.
She had lived in Biloxi since she was 8, when her parents brought her and her siblings here to enjoy a better quality of life.
With high school graduation a few years away, she decided to do like her friends and get a job and a driver’s permit.
“I didn’t have a Social Security card,” she said.
“That’s when it hit me. I was undocumented. I became depressed and it got worse my last couple of years in high school. I knew my only option was to work under the table.”
She’s a Dreamer, a term given to undocumented immigrants brought to America when they were under the age of 16.
Carla saw hope when she learned she qualified for temporary protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, effective in 2012. She is able to live and work in the city and country she loves provided she is able to renew her status every two years.
DACA is for ages 16 to 31. But it appears to be coming to an end. White House officials are arguing that it was unconstitutional for President Barack Obama to create the program.
Carla, now 23, still lives in Biloxi. She is the mother of two children and works as a medical interpreter for a nonprofit organization.
Carla is not her real name. She agreed to talk to the Sun Herald provided her identity is not revealed.
Under DACA, she was able to get a Social Security number. She pays into Social Security and Medicare, but will never be eligible to receive those benefits unless she can become a permanent resident. She is not eligible for any public benefits, such as food stamps.