In September, after Donald Trump cancelled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the popular Obama-era program that granted legal protections to undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the U.S. as children, he told the program’s seven hundred thousand recipients, who then faced the prospect of being deported, that they had “nothing to worry about.” His decision didn’t end the program right away—it gave Congress six months, until March, to negotiate a policy solution. Until then, the President said, “No action!”
But Trump failed to mention that the hundred and fifty-four thousand daca recipients whose statuses were scheduled for renewal before March had only until October to send in their paperwork. (Under Obama, recipients had to reapply for daca every two years.) Some twenty-two thousand of them didn’t submit their materials in time. Each day since then, according to the Center for American Progress, a hundred and twenty-two daca recipients have lost their status, meaning, among other things, that they can no longer legally work in the U.S.
One of them is Brittany Aguilera, a twenty-eight-year-old from Trinidad, who came to the U.S. when she was three. She lives in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, in New York City, with her mother, father, and younger sister, who is a U.S. citizen. Before Trump’s decision, Aguilera’s daca status—which she had held since 2012—had been up for renewal this month. She sent in her paperwork in September, after Trump’s decision, but an error meant that her renewal wasn’t processed before the deadline. She spoke with me on Wednesday, the night before her status was due to expire. Thursday was her last day at work, as a nanny in Brooklyn. This interview has been edited and condensed.
[For more of this story, written by Jonathan Blitzer, go to https://www.newyorker.com/news...-legal-status-expire]