MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis college student says he’s breathing a sigh of relief after the Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.
The court says the Trump administration cannot begin deporting people brought to the U.S. as children, people often called Dreamers, under this status.
Ricardo Rocha, a Christian Brothers University student on scholarship, almost couldn’t believe the news he heard Thursday morning.
“It was a great sense of relief knowing I’m going to be able to renew,” he said.
In 21 years, Rocha has already been through more than most experience in a lifetime. He still remembers when, at age 4, he watched his sister, 2, as they made their way from Mexico to the U.S.
“It was me and my sister in a truck with some random family,” he said. “We ended up in Texas and then met with my mother after being a week apart.”
Eventually his father connected with an uncle in South Carolina and the family settled there.
“It was always ingrained in my head: good grades, continue education, this is the reason we came and the outcomes we want,” he said.
But he says being undocumented has created barriers in his life. He had no idea how he would go to college until he found a scholarship program for Dreamers under DACA and enrolled at CBU. He’s a rising senior majoring in accounting.
Right now, he’s home in South Carolina doing an internship and plans to do another soon in Memphis.
“They’re incredibly talented young people who contribute very much to our community,” said CBU President Jack Shannon of the nearly 200 Dreamers enrolled at CBU. “For them to have a pathway forward and be able to allay the fears they’ve been experiencing the last couple years is fantastic.”
Shannon also said CBU has filed briefs alongside other universities who also have Dreamers on campus.
The Department of Homeland Security’s acting secretary responded to the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday, saying they missed an opportunity to provide closure for Dreamers, and reinforcing the administration’s belief that the program is illegal.