Polk DACA students worry about status after Trump takes office

Posted at 6:06 PM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 18:06:12-05

The morning after the election is a day Leonel Navarrete wishes to forget.

“I couldn’t believe it had happened,” he said.

Navarrese is a migrant worker turned college graduate. He came to the United States when he was six years old to work the fields, but he worked hard to better his life and ended up earning a associates degree at Polk State College.

He is now a substitute teacher while he continues his education to earn a bachelors degree.

He is here legally through the DACA program — an executive action President Obama put into place and one President-Elect Trump could immediately end.

“The first thing that went though my mind was my future. Everything was at risk now with the new president. Just worried right now with me and many more DACA students all over the nation,” he said.

In Florida there are roughly 100-thousand undocumented immigrants eligible for DACA. Nationwide, there’s about two million.

Most of them are now living in fear of what’s to come.

“We are going backwards,” said Nancy Futch with the League of Women’s Voters. She set up an immigration seminar on Wednesday to help the community understand what we do and don’t know about the new administration’s plans.

President-Elect Trump made some bold immigration promises during the campaign: telling voters he would build a wall, put an end to DACA and sanctuary cities, and step up deportation enforcement.

But after election day, he seemed to step back slightly, saying he’ll first only focus on deporting undocumented criminals.

“We have come a long ways and we can’t just let someone come in and destroy dreams,” said Navarrete.

The other big concern: the parents of DACA children.

“Because their parents don’t have DACA, they are so fearful that their parents will be deported. And when they are their citizen children will not go, they will be left here,” Futch added.