MERCED, Calif.— Adriana Meza jokes about being afraid to “accidentally” cross the border while driving to visit her boyfriend at the Marine Corps Base in San Diego.
Joking was a luxury she never had before.
The 24-year-old says it was nerve-wracking the first time she headed to Southern California, believing she would somehow end up in Mexico and never be able to return home.
Having an unmarked driver’s license and being able to enter a military base are some of the perks of being “DACAmented,” according to Meza. Under California law AB 60, undocumented immigrants can get a driver’s license, but it carries a mark indicating their status.
The Mexican national is a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program announced in 2012 that allows certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to get a reprieve from deportation, and a social security number and a work permit.
Without the relief, she would not be able to visit her boyfriend at the military base and watch him graduate. And, most importantly, she wouldn’t be able to pursue her own career.
That’s because DACA allowed Meza to do something she wasn’t able to do before: achieve her dream of becoming a teacher.
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