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These Legal Immigrants Just Blew Up Everything You've Heard About DACA

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In June, NBC News published an article about the “tenuous” future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The article followed the stories of several DACA recipients, showing how their lives were changed for the better by the Obama-era program.

The 2012 policy provided work visas to illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and protected them from deportation. On Oct. 5, a federal appeals court ruled the program is illegal.

DACA has undoubtedly changed the lives of many illegal immigrants, but while the NBC article described the seemingly unlimited upsides to DACA, even comparing it to the GI Bill, it neglected a demographic that the program harmed: legal immigrants.

Speaking with The Western Journal, Alejandro Gauna, a legal immigrant from Mexico now residing in Texas, shared his experience with obtaining citizenship and his views on DACA.

Thanks to President Ronald Reagan’s immigration policy, Gauna’s father was able to apply for citizenship. Later, Gauna and his siblings became citizens as well.

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“I remember being really proud of having my certificate. I even took it to my school my senior year when I received it, and showed it to my principal and everyone at school because I was proud of becoming a citizen,” he said.

When it comes to DACA, Guana is skeptical.

He believes Democrats have used to policy to attract Hispanic voters and are still using support for DACA to convince the Hispanic community that they’re on the same side. Democrats are currently looking to save or replace the recently stricken-down policy.

“The Democrat Party tries to use the Hispanic community the same way they have used the African-American community,” Guana said. “That’s why they want to pander to the Hispanics and sound like they really care. That’s why DACA was created. … But their policies are hurting the Hispanic community, I believe.”

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Other legal immigrants-turned-citizens have expressed the same frustration with DACA “dreamers.” Many immigrants worked hard to enter the U.S. legally, only to be skipped in line.

“I was frustrated because my family worked hard to become legal residents, but my cousin, a DACA baby, didn’t have to,” said Maria Garcia, a legal immigrant from Mexico who now serves as president of the Hispanic Republican Club of North Texas. “What is more frustrating is that some DACA babies did not appreciate the opportunity and pursued criminal activities instead.”

Gabriela Pacioni, an immigrant from Cananea, Mexico, obtained citizenship through a student visa. She shared similar frustrations.

Pacioni’s older sister waited 25 long years to come to the United States after working through all of the proper paperwork.

“We’re seeing all these people just come in and, ‘Oh, it’s OK, they can live here illegally.’ … And we’re doing things the right way, and all these other people are just living off the government and not paying taxes?” she said.

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In Pacioni’s experience, DACA is a divisive issue even within the Hispanic community.

“A lot of [my friends] are like, ‘Gabi, we cannot understand how in the world you’re on the conservative side when you’re from Mexico.’ They feel that because I’m on the conservative side of the law … that I’m against who I am, where I came from and my people. And I say, ‘No, you know what? I came here the right way, I paid my way. It was super hard, and I earned it,” Pacioni said.

“What I explain to my fellow Mexicans is, look, we all work hard for what we have. … Even in Mexico, you work hard to get into a nice home that is maybe [in a] gated community.”

“And I tell them, ‘You work hard for that. You don’t want just someone to come through your gate, jump your fence, and start playing on your kids’ swings or stepping on your nice lawn that you earned.’ It’s the same thing,” she said.

Gauna believes Hispanics are beginning to wake up to the left’s exploitation of them and, contrary to what the liberal media would have people believe, that former President Donald Trump actually stood up for Hispanics.

“I think that the Republican Party offers the right strategy. We believe in personal responsibility, we believe in faith, we believe in family. And the Democrat Party doesn’t stand for any of those values. And we as Hispanics see that,” Gauna told The Western Journal.

“[Trump] stood up for America,” he said. “All the policies that he stood for, Hispanics stand for. That’s why you see the shift that’s going on. And a lot of credit has to be given to Donald Trump,” Gauna said.

The shift Guana is talking about is rather momentous. An analysis of the 2020 election conducted by The Wall Street Journal found that the median “heavily Latin neighborhood” shifted 7.2 points toward Trump compared to 2016.

That shift in voting patterns can certainly be seen in the Hispanic community’s divide on DACA.

Despite the striking-down of DACA, current recipients are still protected from deportation and their employment authorizations still hold. While no new DACA applications are allowed, renewals are still permitted.

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