EL PASO, Texas - Victor Erives, a biochemistry major at the University of Texas at El Paso, plans to attend graduate school with the hope of one day becoming a doctor.
Erives' goals are mired in uncertainty. His parents brought him to the United States illegally when he was a child. "I was brought over as a baby, and to this day, I haven't gone back. I've continuously lived here in the USA since I was a one-year-old baby," Erives said.
In June of 2012, then president Barack Obama established DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program allowed some people who entered the country as minors, and remained in the country illegally, to receive relief from deportation and be eligible for a work permit. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services nearly 790,000 young unauthorized immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief through the program since it was created.
In September 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the DACA program, leaving many of those benefiting from the program uncertain of whether they will eventually be given a path to citizenship. President Trump gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution for Dreamers brought to the country illegally as children.
"Right now I'm taking a total of five classes, which is eleven credit hours," said Erivez, "My goal is to become a doctor, to work in medicine - that's my ambition."
In 2016, Erives' parents, who are deaf, became legal residents. Erives' younger sister, born in the US, successfully petitioned for her parent's legal residency. Immigration rules state only a citizen and close family members can petition for someone to gain a residency. Erives' parents aren't citizens, and if his sister were to petition for him, he would need to move to Mexico to gain lawful entry into the US, a process can take 12 years or longer.
Erives signed up for the DACA program in 2012 when then President Obama signed the executive order. "I started crying. This paper is going to allow me to be here right now. Everything opened up for me, my world changed," said Erives.
After the Trump Administration's move to rescind the DACA program in September 2017, Erives was interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper. At the time of the interview, Erives had just participated in a town hall meeting with Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"Us dreamers - we're Americans just as other people, we have the American spirit within us all," Erives told Tapper.
"I'm going back to the feeling of, you know, just being a little more anxious and not knowing what's going to happen in the future," Erives told ABC-7.
Erives currently works as a interpreter for the deaf. "It's very beneficial, it's good pay, it's very rewarding because you're helping other people with accessibility, the deaf community, and so you feel like you're someone that's connected," said Erives.
Erives tells ABC-7 his main concern is the welfare of his parents. "They rely on me a lot for accessibility. They rely on me a lot for errands and communication - for interpreting - so if I go back to Mexico, my parents would be lost," said Erives.
Erives says he feels the pressure. His deferred deportation will expire in 2019. Current DACA recipients will be permitted to retain both the period of deferred action and their employment authorization documents until they expire. When their period of deferred action expires or is terminated, their removal will no longer be deferred and they will no longer be eligible for lawful employment.
Erives will once again be considered an undocumented immigrant. "It's like I turned the sands of time and boom. People think 'ah it's two years no big deal,' but for me, it's right around the corner," said Erives.