Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Roberto Martinez, a DACA recipient, sings and cheers after the Supreme Court decision.
Juan Plascencia followed a routine for weeks: he woke up and checked the Supreme Court website to see if it had been decided whether he would continue to be protected from deportation.
In those moments, Plascencia, a 29-year-old history teacher in Las Vegas, was fearful and nervous, but more than anything, he just wanted to know.
Handout / Juan Plascencia
Juan Plascencia, 29, from Las Vegas, Nevada.
The decision finally came on Thursday, and Plascencia flipped through the entire statement before finding that the Supreme Court found that the Trump administration had broken federal law by repealing the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), an Obama-era program that protects immigrants from deportation as children in the United States. A range of emotions followed, including shock and amazement.
“As a history teacher, I teach about days like this. DACA is here to stay and our humanity is affirmed, “Plascencia told BuzzFeed News.” We are human beings. We don’t owe people a sob story to prove our humanity. “
There were 649,070 active DACA recipients as of December 31, 2019, the latest data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. At this point there were 25,980 people with DACA renewals pending.
Angel Fajardo, 25, was surprised when the Supreme Court issued its opinion. She had prepared for a judgment against DACA. However, the limbo in which she and other DACA recipients were is not quite over. Thursday’s decision only stated that the way Trump tried to overturn DACA was wrong, meaning that if he follows the right steps in the future, he can still exit the program.
“It’s a relief that we know,” Fajardo told BuzzFeed News. “But I’m still not in an absolutely happy state because I know that no matter what, if the government wants to continue its agenda, it will definitely move on and we have to be prepared for it.”
Fajardo, director of the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective, has two young children and is concerned about her family’s future in the United States. Still, she said it wasn’t as bad this time as it was in 2017 when she was pregnant with her son and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the government’s plans to end the DACA.
“I had nightmares thinking about my baby. I was scared of the possibility of being removed,” said Fajardo. “After going through that first moment, I remembered a little more this time.”
Handout / Vanessa Meraz
Vanessa Meraz before the Supreme Court.
Vanessa Meraz, 23, of Washington, DC, said that while fear of a possible DACA decision had been constant over the past few months, the first-generation college graduate felt that today would be the day. At 10 a.m., she hit “Update” on the Supreme Court website and moments later let go of all the emotions she’d bottled.
“The relief I felt at that moment is indescribable and all I could do was cry to my parents. We didn’t expect this decision at all,” she said.
Marez immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her parents when she was 3 years old.
“Today’s decision was a huge win for nearly 700,000 DACA recipients like me and our families,” said Marez. “But there is still a lot to be done to provide permanent protection to all undocumented people in this country.
Cinthia Padilla, a DACA recipient preparing for this summer’s bar exam in Louisiana, also woke up Thursday Thursday and kept the Supreme Court website up to date to see if the future of a program that was affecting thousands of She protected people and gave them work permits.
Brought to the United States from Mexico at age 1, the 29-year-old graduated from Loyola University’s New Orleans College of Law in May and said she felt revived, grateful and upbeat as she read the verdict.
“It’s a beautiful moment,” Padilla told BuzzFeed News. “We beat Trump and I can study for the bar in peace without checking every week whether a decision has been made.”
Padilla said she doesn’t know what Trump’s next plans for DACA are, but hopes undocumented people like her own the moment and tell their officials how important the program is.
“Trump is only one person in his group,” said Padilla. “Hopefully this decision has signaled to him again that he cannot exercise executive power without this being called into question.”
Ivon Cardoza, a 24-year-old dental assistant in Dallas, was a junior high school girl when she first heard about DACA. In the next few weeks she expects to open her own boutique in the fall and graduate in business administration.
“My DACA was due to expire this year and without that I would have lost everything by September,” said Cardoza. “I’m sick of hearing the news today.”