The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program also known as DACA was created by the Obama Administration back in 2012. DACA protects certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation and allows them to be eligible for work authorizations. Many DACA recipients came to the United States at an early age for better stability in their lives. This is the case for Manuel Pina.
Manuel immigrated to the United States when he was seven years old. To him, this is all he has known; he learned to ride a bike, he learned to be a big brother, and he learned a second language. Growing up Manuel never felt any different from the other kids until he began high school and started to plan for his future. Manuel started to realize that he did not have the same opportunities as the other students. After high school, he applied to Universal Technical Institute and was accepted. Manuel had to apply for financial aid but was denied any financial assistance due to his status. Not only did this affect his education, but it took a toll on his friendships and relationships, and he was struggling to even purchase his first car. He knew he had to find a solution to his current situation and believed DACA could support him. Manuel filed for DACA as soon as possible.
He felt a sense of freedom that he did not feel before and shortly was able to find a job. Manuel started to feel like he was finding his place in this country. Having DACA provided him with more opportunities, but he still had barriers. DACA is expensive because it must be renewed every eighteen months and it can cost about a thousand dollars. However, Manuel would pay any amount necessary because it gave him a sense of reassurance, knowing that he was not in danger of deportation. Although Manuel was no longer living in constant fear, he still had a challenging time opening up to people about his immigration status. Fast forward to now, Manuel met his now wife and confided to her about his status and he was surprised to have found someone who accepted him. She has encouraged him to be the best man he can be and has now purchased their first home with a baby on the way. As she continued to encourage him, Manuel applied for permanent residency and was approved.
Manuel is “over the moon” because having his permanent residency allows him to live fearlessly. He no longer is worried about his status being taken away from him and he can now teach his yet-to-be-born son, Dominic, everything he has learned. Congratulations to Manuel and his family!
If you would like to support CHD in creating more success stories, like Manuel’s please consider donating to our Immigration & Citizenship program. The link to donate is below.