Ricardó Sanchez, Student DACA recipient, stands at the front desk of the Dream Resource Center at SF State, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress) (David Jones)
Ricardó Sanchez, Student DACA recipient, stands at the front desk of the Dream Resource Center at SF State, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress)

David Jones

The dream in the fight that continues across the nation: DACA

DACA continues to demonstrate the need for comprehensive immigration reform for the future of young migrants in the United States.

February 14, 2023

The United States government has not established, after 11 years, additional hearings to determine the long-term viability of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) for this year.

DACA was the result of executive action during the Obama administration to protect young people from deportation due to their immigration status.

For now, DACA recipients will have to continue to apply for renewal every two years, as they have since 2012, and without any path to citizenship.

Ricardó Sanchez, a 29-year-old mechanical engineering student at SF State, is a DACA beneficiary from Jalisco, Mexico.

“I didn’t have documents right out of high school,” Sanchez said “I didn’t even know I could get financial aid, so I always knew I wanted to go to college.”

In his annual State of the Union address on Feb. 7, President Joe Biden devoted approximately two out of his 73-minute speech to migration.

“If we don’t pass my comprehensive immigration reform, let’s at least pass my plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border and a path to citizenship for Dreamers, those with temporary status, farm workers and essential workers,” Biden said in his speech.

More than 610,000 people make up the current DACA population, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Immigrant Legal Defense provides immigration legal services to individuals at nine California State University campuses in the Bay Area, Central Valley, Central Coast and at San Francisco State University.

Between July 2021 and July 2022, 175 consultations were conducted with 119 students, five faculty and staff members, 34 family members and 17 alumni that are part of the California State University system’s annual Immigration Legal Services Project data report.

Sanchez remembers two important events in his life as if it were yesterday. The first was when he was crossing the border in the desert, and the second was when former President Barack Obama announced the start of the DACA program.

“I did it right away [the process] in 2012 and five months later I got everything approved,”

Sanchez felt many doors were about to open; however, he now thinks it was only a temporary solution. “I know they could have done more, but at that moment a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

Teresa Carrillo is a professor of Latino Studies in the School of Ethnic Studies who has taught at SF State since 1993. 

“You have to be pretty brave to apply for DACA because you’re basically handing over your information to the government saying, I’m seeking deferral of that deportation,” Carrillo said

For now, USCIS is not accepting new applications for DACA applicants but is renewing applications from previous years’ applicants due to the blocking of the Southern District of Texas, who ruled in July 2021 that DACA was illegal.

SF State President Lynn Mahoney visited the university’s Latinx Student Center. 

“Our commitment to DACA and undocumented students does not go down, but it also means that we have to keep pushing the Biden administration to do something more secure about this program,” Mahoney said. “So this is disappointing, and our commitment to DACA and undocumented students has not changed.”

Lynn Mahoney, University President, speaks with colleagues at SF State on Feb. 8, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress) (David Jones)

Currently, 58 percent of DACA recipients live in California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida, according to USCIS.

Sanchez has worked in the restaurant business for about five years, and additionally, in construction and warehousing. 

“I’m an Amazon driver right now, I’ve never been afraid to work hard at those survival jobs, so hopefully with my degree I can make something of myself,” Sanchez said.

During a Zoom interview, SF State graduate and District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar said, “Education is a very important stage for economic progress. We in the city will do everything to support them, we have to fulfill the promise of DACA and immigration reform.”

The City of San Francisco’s “Opportunity for All” program supports more than 1,600 18- to – 24-year-olds regardless of their immigration status, with the support of the private sector to get jobs and internships.

For the time being, Sanchez’s graduation will come next year and for now he will continue to enjoy mathematics and his passion for physics.

“The status was put on me by the government, that doesn’t describe who I am as a person or who I’m going to be in the future,” Sanchez said.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct a source’s name 

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About the Contributors
Photo of Andy Damián-Correa
Andy Damián-Correa, Staff Reporter
Andy Damián-Correa (he/they) is a bilingual reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in Bilingual Spanish Journalism. He was born in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico but grew up in the rural town of Cancun, Quintana Roo. Damián-Correa began his career in hotel and restaurant management, and he moved into journalism to create awareness of the challenges faced by the Latinx community. He currently lives in San Francisco. He served as reporter and editor for the college’s award-winning Etc. Magazine and The Guardsman, both City College of San Francisco publications. Damián-Correa was recently honored by the Journalism Association of Community Colleges Northern California division for his column writing. He is an executive producing Anchor’s Podcast, a weekly online Spanish language publication. He is the President San Francisco Student Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). During his free time, Damián-Correa enjoys reading and swimming.


Andy Damián-Correa (él/ellos) es un reportero bilingüe de Golden Gate Xpress. Se está especializando en Periodismo Bilingüe en Español. Nació en Tenosique, Tabasco, México pero creció en el pueblo rural de Cancún, Quintana Roo. Damián-Correa comenzó su carrera en la administración de hoteles y restaurantes, y pasó al periodismo para crear conciencia sobre los desafíos que enfrenta la comunidad Latinx. Actualmente vive en San Francisco. Se desempeñó como reportero y editor de la premiada revista Etc. Magazine y The Guardsman, ambas publicaciones del City College of San Francisco. Damián-Correa fue honrado recientemente por la división de la Asociación de Periodismo de Colegios Comunitarios del Norte de California por escribir una columna. Es productor ejecutivo de Anchor's Podcast, una publicación semanal en línea en español. Es el Presidente del Capítulo Estudiantil de San Francisco de la Asociación Nacional de Periodistas Hispanos (NAHJ). Durante su tiempo libre, a Damián-Correa le gusta leer y nadar.
Photo of David Jones
David Jones, Staff Photographer
David Jones (he/they) is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in photojournalism and minoring in sociology. He was born in Oakland, California and raised in Hayward, California. His passions are concerts/editorial photography, poetry and searching for new ways of creative expression. During his free time, he enjoys reading, writing poetry, self-reflection and listening to music.

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