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Central Florida students await Supreme Court’s DACA decision

ORLANDO, Fla. – The future of more than 700,000 immigrants is now in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Recently, justices heard arguments for both sides at a hearing to determine if the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program should be discontinued.

Thousands of immigrants who are protected under the DACA program could face deportation if the ruling is not in their favor. They are immigrants who arrived as children, such as Karen Caudillo, a University of Central Florida political science student.

“They left everything in their home country, literally, not speaking a different language, you know, for my safety, for our family’s economic stability for their hopes and dreams,” Caudillo said.

The 23-year-old arrived with her parents when she was four years old and hasn’t been back to Mexico since.

"This is my only home. I am as Floridian as anyone else," the DACA recipient said.

In 2012, the Obama administration created the program.

“It’s a program that was designed to protect this group of people that were in the United States most of the them, they were here not because of their own decision, but they were brought to the United States as children,” immigration attorney Camila Pachón said.

The program is being challenged by the Trump administration. Two years ago, President Donald Trump tried to cancel the program, which caused protests and multiple lawsuits across the country.

“When there’s a difference between the different district courts, the decisions that they make, the case goes to the Supreme Court,” Pachón said. “The question is whether the way in which the Trump administration took the program away was: Was that a legal and a valid way to do so?”

The program allows immigrants to obtain a work permit, a Social Security number and a driver’s license and essentially protects them from deportation. If the program, known as DACA, is revoked, it won’t only affect those who benefit from it.

"There were several organizations, there were military institutions, there were universities, there were hospitals, there were private businesses that were part of the lawsuit and they were telling the Supreme Court that they have relied on this DACA program to accept these people and now they're relying on this workforce," Pachón said.

For Caudillo, her concern is also knowing that those minors arriving now will be prevented from having the same opportunities she’s had with the program.

“I think that’s the part that hurts the most. That every day there are young kids, a good chunk of them of color, who cannot apply for college, cannot, you know, start to drive,” Caudillo said. “This program is now not being extended to the next generation of people that are growing up here that belong in our communities because home is here you know this is our home.”

Despite the uncertainty, Caudillo is sure about one thing: The support she’s felt throughout this ordeal.

“Knowing that the actual American community is here for us, that’s what really means a lot to me right now.”

Next year, the Supreme Court is expected to announce a ruling.


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