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GRCC Student unsure of future without DACA

Denis Martinez

Twenty-one year-old Denis Martinez has never felt more uncertain about his future.

The Grand Rapids Community College student who is one of the estimated 800,000 young adults who was protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which was rescinded by the Trump  Administration on Sept. 5.

“When I heard of the news I was stunned and a bit upset thinking what am I to do next? What will my parents say to me when they get home and what should I start planning for,” said Martinez as he watched the news and getting ready for a job interview for a marketing company while listening to the television for the determination of the DACA program.

The DACA program is designed to pardon children who came into the United States as undocumented immigrants and allow them to stay in the United States under certain circumstances.

“I’m scared for all of my fellow DACA peers that won’t be able to renew their permit and will have to quit there job,” Martinez said “To add on I also fear the realization that I’m scared knowing my own expiration date and I’m sure everyone else is as well.”

Martinez said that he wants to focus on working more to potentially save money for emergencies due to the uncertainty of being able to work six months from now.

“I’ve got to save as much… not spend it on anything that is not necessary and just hope for the best, because I do not know what I am going to do honestly,” Martinez said.

Martinez was 4 ½ years old he came into the United States from El Salvador. He said that his only memory of El Salvador was about a pet turtle. A pet turtle in which he was washing in a tub in a blue bucket.

Martinez who is an older brother to his younger brother Christian and a family of four. Some of Martinez’s favorite activities to do are camping, hiking, painting, going to musical festivals and ArtPrize. He expresses how much of a nerd he is when it comes model building. Martinez has been attending GRCC for three  years and is majoring in Art Education. He was inspired to become an art teacher because of his high school art teacher Deanne Basse at Godwin Heights High school.

“She really inspired me to draw and do things with art,” Martinez said. “I see that it helps with students and I want to help students… so that is what made me want to become an art teacher.”

Martinez said his undocumented status was never a factor when he was growing up in Michigan. “I never knew what illegal was or what undocumented meant… I felt like a regular kid, just going to school,” he said.“I guess school made me feel like I was normal and until coming to college and applying to college that I started realizing that these things that I am missing they mean a lot,” Martinez said.

On Wed. Sept. 13, Democratic Leaders said that they had reached an agreement to extend the DACA program. However, the following morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that there was no deal made between him and the Democrats, dashing the hopes of those affected by DACA.

In the tweet he wrote , “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.”

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