COACHELLA, Calif. – Cristian Cabrera was working in the grape fields with her family last summer, saving money for the fall semester, when she received a text from a friend.
“Have you heard the good news?”
The news was life-changing for Cabrera and other undocumented college students across the country.
The Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would help eligible undocumented students avoid deportation, apply for a social security card, obtain a driver’s license if their state permits it, and receive a worker’s permit. DACA also expands financial aid opportunities for students, although they would still not qualify for federal assistance.
“I couldn’t believe it,” recalls Cabrera, 21. “I remember looking at the grapes and thinking, ‘If I can finish college, I won’t have to come back here.’”
She quickly began compiling the required documents and saving for the $465 application fee. She helped her older brother and younger sister do the same. On Oct. 15, 2012, she walked to the Coachella Post Office and mailed off her three-inch thick application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Then she waited.
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