DACA recipients hopeful for President-elect Biden’s immigration reform plans

BOSTON — Estefany Pineda was relieved when she learned Joe Biden would become the next president.

“So for me this election has meant everything because it meant I could finish my college degree and then I can get a job,” Pineda said.

She’s a DACA recipient, since her mother brought her to the U.S. from El Salvador when she was 9 years old.

“The threat of violence and us being in danger of being killed was what pushed her to bring us here as fast as she could,” said Pineda, who moved to East Boston in 2007.

Now Pineda is a senior at UMass Boston, working to earn her master’s degree in international relations. But like many other immigrants, she was worried she could be deported under the Trump administration since he tried to end the DACA program.

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“They had no decision whatsoever to come to this country and this is the only home that they know, the only language that they speak for the most part,” Eva Millona said.

Millona is the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, or MIRA.

Millona said now there’s a new hope under President-elect Joe Biden because he said he plans to restore DACA, which gives permits to children who were brought here illegally by their parents. These two-year permits allow them to stay to work and go to school in the U.S.

“It is long overdue, it has been politicized to the extreme, and Dreamers, but also generally speaking the American people, are looking for a new chapter in American politics that both parties can work together towards,” Millona said.

Millona believes Biden will work across the aisle on immigration reform to create a new path to citizenship for millions of immigrants.

“Our immigration law is the law of 1952 as a mandate,” Millona said. “So it is time for a modernized immigration system that serves America and it treats people with dignity and respect.”

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Pineda is even more hopeful now to become a U.S. citizen one day to continue her life in the country she now calls home.

“If there’s any chance for me being able to do that then I would for sure take the opportunity,” Pineda said.


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