At the University of Massachusetts Boston, sophomore student Ana Rubim sat in University Hall’s cafeteria on the morning of Sept. 29 for an interview with The Mass Media. For most UMass Boston students, it was just another day at school with the usual morning rush. For Rubim, it was another day foreseeing an uncertain future.
UMass Boston Chancellor Barry Mills released a statement on Sept. 5 notifying the community about the rescinding of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Since 2012, under the Obama Administration, the DACA program has protected nearly 800,000 undocumented young immigrants, permitting them to acquire driver’s licenses, work permits, and the ability to apply for college. It was also noted in Mills’ statement that UMass Boston has publicly recognized 40 DACA students on campus, suspecting that there could be more. Rubim is one of those students.
Rubim moved to the United States from Brazil with her mother in July of 2006 when she was eight years old. Rubim’s father, who was already in the US for a year and a half previous to Rubim’s arrival, had always wanted to come to the US: “My dad always had that dream,” Rubim said. “If it’s really what everyone says it is... Everyone was talking about the American Dream,” she added.
While Rubim’s father was in the U.S., her mother continued to teach as a public school teacher in Brazil. “For my mother, she had a stable job. It didn’t matter if we moved or not... We didn’t have a bad life. I went to private schools... We had a nice house, we had everything,” Rubim added.
To keep Rubim’s family together, her father inquired for the rest of the family to come to the U.S. “The first two years [in the U.S.] were difficult,” Rubim said. “But I like it here, I don’t want to go back and I can’t, even if I wanted to.”
Rubim currently lives with her parents and her nine-year-old brother. Rubim’s father is a tile worker and her mother is a cleaning lady. Like most UMass Boston students, Rubim also works two jobs and balances her school work. She is currently working at a retail store at Assembly Row and tutors math and English.
Rubim recalled the time when her family first heard that Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States. Her father expressed his concern regarding deportation: “He said that ‘in case I get deported, I don’t want you guys to cry.’” “Dad, that’s not going to happen,” said Rubim. She added that she can’t see it happening, “mostly because, [I don’t] want to see it happening.”
When Rubim looked back on when she and her family first heard that DACA was getting rescinded, she said, “I remembered... I kind of knew that something bad was going to happen. I had the expectation that something bad was going to happen to us.”
Rubim stated that, in a way, she hoped and expected that this was a light-hearted claim by Trump. “But now, we just have to wait on Congress and see what comes about. It’s kind of frightening because we don’t even know what’s going to happen to my family,” she said.
For many DACA students and youths whose work permits are set to expire on March 5 of this year, renewed applications with a two-year renewal were accepted until Oct. 5.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a sector of the Department of Homeland Security, provides DACA applications for $465, according to their website. According to Rubim, though, when she renewed her application, along with her father’s, the actual cost was $500.
Rubim explained that although her family’s DACA status has been renewed, she and her family are still looking at an uncertain future: “What is going to happen after those two years are up?” Rubim asked. “I can’t go to school, I can’t get a job... it’s a big setback.”
“We pay for tax, we pay for everything... we do everything that a legal citizen is [responsible for]... Sometimes, it feels like a waiting game, all I can do is hope for the best.”
“Hopefully something good will happen in six months,” Rubim said, referring to the March deadline. As a sophomore at UMass Boston, Rubim is hoping to declare a major in International Relations.