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Despite Supreme Court’s DACA ruling, some dreamers left unprotected

Maria Garcia (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, some young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children are still left unprotected.

The 5-4 ruling by the justices orders the Trump administration to continue to accept renewal applications for the DACA program. But it does not say it needs to accept new ones.

In response, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which processes DACA applications, announced it “is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.”

“Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017,” USCIS stated on its website.

That means 17-year-old Maria Garcia of Tempe still can’t apply for DACA.

She was too young to apply when President Donald Trump ordered the program, which offers deportation protection and work authorization, to wind down in 2017.

Garcia said that for her and other dreamers in the same situation, “our future is still full of uncertainty.”

She recently graduated from Tempe High School and is starting Arizona State University in the fall. She’s pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering.

Garcia said without a permanent solution and a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants like her, she won’t be able to use her college degree to work after she graduates nor “put my dreams in action.”

“The fight is not over yet, until all dreamers are able to make their dreams and goals come true, without having their status holding them back,” she added.

There were more than 24,000 DACA recipients living in Arizona as of December 31, according to the latest numbers from USCIS.

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