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DACA recipient relieved by President Biden’s immigration plan

Published: Jan. 24, 2021 at 8:25 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - President Joe Biden signed 30 executive orders last week which reversed several immigration policies made by the previous administration. Now one Grand Island man is relieved after having lived the last four years in fear.

38-year-old Raul Arcos-Hawkins has lived in the United States for 30 years and has been in Nebraska for 25 of those years.

He said the last four years under the Trump Administration was an emotional roller coaster. He was constantly worried about the possibility of DACA being removed which is the very form of legislation allowing him to stay in this country.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also referred to as DACA, protects people who immigrated to the U.S. at a very young age from getting deported and it also gives them an opportunity to work and pay taxes.

“It has allowed me to work,” Raul Arcos-Hawkins said. “It has allowed me to stay living in the states without the threat or possibility of being deported to a country I no longer know, and to most of us we don’t know the countries that we originally came from, to us it’s just another country, to us the United States is home.”

Former President Trump tried to get rid of it last year but it was later overturned by the Supreme Court, a decision Arcos-Hawkins was relieved to hear.

“Last year when it was another threat that it could go away, that it could possibly be the last year of it, I did file to renew it,” Arcos-Hawkins said. “I was going to lose one year but then I would gain two, and then I figured it would give me enough leeway to figure out if it was another way of immigration relief for myself. It was very hard. I think it took an emotional toll.”

President Biden as part of his executive orders vows to keep DACA going and provide a pathway to citizenship in 8 years for immigrants with background checks and proof of paying taxes.

“If $11 million new immigrants get a green card and they start and continue paying taxes to Social Security and Medicaid, I think it would be a huge relief to those right now who are retired and those who are going to be retired in the next couple years,” Arcos-Hawkins said.

He believes if this legislation is passed it could give dreamers like himself an opportunity to become citizens. Right now he stated they either have to marry a U.S. citizen or have family members who are citizens to petition for them to get a green card which could take several years.

Arcos-Hawkins is hoping the Biden administration can pass legislation for immigration reform, because without concrete laws and the man power to get through a backlog of citizenship cases, nothing will ever change.

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