Maria Nieto Orta was driving home to Las Vegas last week from a family vacation in Utah when she found out about a federal judge’s decision to close the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, to first-time applicants.
“I just remember being super sad about it, and kind of sitting in silence specifically because I didn’t yet want to talk to my parents about it, because I knew they were going to ask a lot of questions,” Nieto Orta, 21, said in an interview with The Nevada Independent.
Born in Mexico City, Nieto Orta has lived in Las Vegas since before she was age two. She’s among more than 600,000 DACA recipients in the U.S., including more than 11,000 in Nevada. She’s been protected by DACA for the last seven years, since she was 15. Although the recent ruling doesn’t immediately jeopardize her legal immigration status, she’s still worried about the future of DACA.
“It really sucks, and it’s really disheartening,” said Nieto Orta, who works for Mi Familia Vota, a civic engagement organization in Las Vegas, as the state coordinator.
The ruling marks a big, but not unexpected, blow for first-time applicants who had a seven-month window in the last three years to apply for the legal immigration status since the Trump administration attempted to terminate the program entirely in September 2017.
In the ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas wrote that the Department of Homeland Security can continue to receive applications for DACA, but it may not process or approve them until a further order from the District Court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court. Hanen, appointed by George W. Bush during his presidency, said the Obama administration violated administrative procedures when it created DACA in 2012.
Read the full article here: ‘All eyes are on Congress’ after latest blow to DACA program bars first-time applicants
This portion of the article is shared as part of our collaboration with The Nevada Independent. This story was originally published on July 25, 2021, and written by Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez.