Fernanda Vazquez was 7 years old when she came to the United States with her mother and siblings. Her father was the first one to make the big move before they came and both her parents wanted a better future and opportunities for her family, but things grew complicated as Vazquez grew older.
“I didn’t see myself fitting in with the rest of the students because I saw that they had like their own IDs, their drivers licenses, they were applying for FAFSA and everything and I was told that I wasn’t eligible for FAFSA,” she said.
Vazquez is undocumented, but thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), she will soon be able to get a driver’s license and she has a job.
“All my parents really told me is that to know give my one hundred percent effort at school, so I did, “ she said.
Vazquez said she felt a sense of relief and freedom. It not only gave her hope for college, but also to receive health insurance through her job.
“Again it’s all because of DACA. DACA was able to help me get to that point, ” she said.
That is one of the reasons Vazquez and the Arkansas United Community Coalition fought to keep DACA.
“You were telling Michelle your story a minute ago and what you are trying to do, so this is important,” Immigrant Integration Director Mayra Esquivel said.
The nonprofit organization attempted to reach out to Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge by sending personal letters, videos and phone calls from DACA recipients.
“(Rutledge) was the person that signed on to this letter asking for the cancellation for DACA,” Esquivel said.
AUCC officials said they are fighting for the immigration community.
“We want to make sure that everyone feels that they have a voice that they too can be leaders and that they are capable of fighting for a better tomorrow,” she said.
With her future in limbo, Vazquez said she is putting college on hold for now. She said she is working and saving her money hoping to have a future in this country.
DACA was created under the Obama administration through executive in 2012.
According to administration officials, President Donald Trump is likely to terminate the program.