FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — While many are rightly focused on the coronavirus outbreak, the Supreme Court is discussing the future of a program that allows some unlawful residents to get work permits and drivers licenses. A decision on the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) should be reached soon.
Karla Palma is a River Valley college student.
“Fort Smith was the place that I call home, and I still consider it my home because this is where I was brought [when] I was four years old,” Palma said.
She drives a car, works and attends college in hopes of becoming a nurse. None of those would’ve been possible without DACA.
“I remember opening up my permit when I got it with my dad in the car, and we were both crying because it’s not something I would ever imagine having,” Palma said.
Lost amid COVID-19 talk, the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether to end the program at the behest of the current administration.
“They’ve already had the oral arguments, and we’re expecting a decision soon,” said Aaron Cash, an immigration attorney in Rogers.
DACA recipients may want to consider what their options are if the program’s repealed, Cash said.
“We don’t know what the decision will be, and so it’s better to be prepared rather than be on the defensive later,” Cash said.
For Palma, the outcome will simply be another battle in the war she and her family have fought since she was a child.
“I wanna be a part of a statistic of the [immigrants] that did pursue higher education and that’re bettering themselves,” Palma said.
It’s a battle she hopes to avoid but is prepared to face.
“I’m not gonna let this define me, and that’s what I’ve been telling all my other DACA recipient friends,” Palma said.