BOSTON (CBS) – Angie Palencia calls it a weight off her shoulders, the executive order signed by President Joe Biden that fortifies the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“It’s a path to permanent residency,” said Palencia.READ MORE: I-Team: Mass General Brigham Nurses Concerned About Limited Supply Of N95 Masks
She came to the United States as a two-year-old, with her family making a perilous journey from their native Guatemala. But this is the home she has known and has been able to stay as a “Dreamer” under an Obama-era program designed to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
For 19-year-old Hilcias De La Cruz, it brings hope as well.
“Technically I grew up here, I know the culture, social and private life. It’s impacted the way I think and the way I act,” said De La Cruz.
He came with his parents and sister from Guatemala as a six-year-old and like many dreamers is a student who dreams of becoming an architect.READ MORE: Massive Wind-Whipped Fire Spreads To Several Salisbury Buildings
“If DACA was eradicated, I’d be unable to graduate and move on and make a future for myself. That kind of got me scared.”
President Trump shut down the program in 2017, though it was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Still, it’s on murky ground but President Biden’s executive order gives DACA staying power for now along with helping to provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
“Many people were wrongly deported due to Trump policies,” said immigration attorney Susan Church. “This will allow us to revisit a lot of that.”
Since arriving as children, De La Cruz and Palencia now have hope that their legal status can finally be settled.
“Now all people who didn’t have a chance can now have a chance. People like me, my sister and my parents,” said Palencia.MORE NEWS: Hunter Henry Looking To Build Off Successful -- And Healthy -- First Season With Patriots
Immigration advocates hope DACA finally becomes part of a comprehensive immigration reform program to make it permanent.