DACA Stories

In hon­or of Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­can (APA) Her­itage Month, SAALT is show­cas­ing six inter­views with South Asian “DACA­ment­ed” indi­vid­u­als. DACA (Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals) is a 2012 pol­i­cy direc­tive that pro­vides undoc­u­ment­ed youth with tem­po­rary relief from depor­ta­tion for a peri­od of two-years at a time, dur­ing which they are eli­gi­ble to work. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, DACA does not pro­vide a green card or path­way to citizenship—it is tem­po­rary. These DACA­ment­ed indi­vid­u­als are shar­ing their sto­ries to spread the word about DACA so that addi­tion­al eli­gi­ble, undoc­u­ment­ed indi­vid­u­als might apply. SAALT also hopes these com­pelling inter­views can serve to under­line the need for com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform and moti­vate South Asians nation­wide to advo­cate for change.

Featured Interviews

Ainee Athar
Texas

Ainee AtharIn Novem­ber 2010, my sopho­more year at Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas-Austin, Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) offi­cers raid­ed our home in Hous­ton and placed my par­ents in deten­tion. That’s when I learned that our attor­ney nev­er filed our appeal after my par­ents’ asy­lum case was denied; we were out of sta­tus. I didn’t real­ize until that moment that we were undoc­u­ment­ed. We did every­thing we were sup­posed to do, but it wasn’t enough. Read Full Sto­ry

Bupendra (Bupen) Ram
California

Bupendra Ram

 

I refuse to apol­o­gize for who I am or for my life expe­ri­ences. I refuse to let my lack of priv­i­lege wear me down. I refuse to let pol­i­tics and the gov­ern­ment get between me and my hap­pi­ness. I choose to be hap­py and move for­ward with love. Read Full Sto­ry

Hina Naveed
New York

Hina Naveed


I have real­ized through my work on behalf of immi­grant rights that the divi­sive­ness with­in our cul­tures and com­mu­ni­ties and the stereo­types we have against one anoth­er only oper­ate against us in the long run. We need to learn to trust each oth­er, work togeth­er, and sup­port one anoth­er because the issues for which we are fight­ing affect us all. We all deserve to live with dig­ni­ty and respect, regard­less of our immi­gra­tion sta­tus. Read Full Sto­ry

Pratishtha Khanna
Maryland

Pratishtha Khanna
My father’s tourist visa expired while he was wait­ing for his employ­ment visa: he ‘over­stayed’ eight days. Those eight days stood between my fam­i­ly hav­ing immi­gra­tion papers in the U.S. and liv­ing a life of per­pet­u­al uncer­tain­ty as undoc­u­ment­ed indi­vid­u­als. Read Full Sto­ry

Rishi Singh
New York

Rishi Singh

 

Even though I always knew that we strug­gled, I did not real­ize the full extent of our strug­gle or what it would mean for my future. I had worked so hard to do well in school; yet with­out know­ing it, I had set myself up for dis­ap­point­ment. Regard­less of my aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence and dri­ve, I faced bar­ri­ers beyond my con­trol that would not allow me to suc­ceed in the ways I want­ed. Read Full Sto­ry

Yves Gomes
Maryland

Yves Gomes


My broth­er and I could not even be com­fort­ed know­ing that our par­ents were togeth­er because they were not. My fam­i­ly had been torn apart across three sep­a­rate coun­tries, with my moth­er in India, my father in Bangladesh and me and my broth­er in the U.S. Read Full Sto­ry