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DACA recipients watch presidential race closely

Posted at 7:56 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 19:56:11-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The candidate who wins the 2020 election is set up to determine the fate of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA grants temporary legal status, work permits and other protections to children brought into the United States illegally as children, often referred to as ‘Dreamers’.

Milton Meza de los Santos is among nearly 3,000 DACA recipients living in Kentucky. He said the program changed his life.

“It just allowed me to be a normal person and not have to fight so hard, not have to be so tired every day,” he said.

With the stability of his legal status in the country a topic of debate during the 2020 presidential election, Meza de los Santos is paying attention to the race’s results.

“This election is everything,” he said. “I’m tired of refreshing Google to see what’s going on.”

Despite the high stakes this election holds for Meza de los Santos, he doesn’t have a say in its outcome. DACA grants recipients protection from deportation, but not the right to vote.

“I definitely would say that lack of control with your whole life being on the line definitely puts some things in perspective,” Meza de los Santos said.

In July, the Trump administration began rejecting new DACA applications after the Supreme Court determined President Trump could not end the program immediately as he intended to do in 2017.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, President Trump promised to ‘take care of Dreamers’ with and to work on passing legislation that provides more than 600,000 Dreamers a path to citizenship.

No executive order has been signed nor bill passed currently.

During his campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to provide a permanent path to citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants in his first 100 days if elected.