DACA recipient told she couldn't go to college graduates UCLA

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Thursday, August 17, 2017
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Karla Estrada, 26, a DACA recipient discouraged from going to college and told she should go back to Mexico, graduates from UCLA.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Being discouraged from going to college sent 26-year-old DACA recipient, Karla Estrada, into a downward spiral, but those words would turn into the fuel that would get her through UCLA and land her a job at a law firm.

With the future of Obama's Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program uncertain, other childhood arrivals may not have the same opportunity.

"I don't know if it was out of spite or ignorance. Maybe both. The counselor told me that I couldn't go to college and that I should go back to Mexico," said Estrada.

With Tuesday being the fifth anniversary since DACA was implemented, rallies were held in cities across the U.S. in support of immigrants' rights and to defend childhood arrivals.

Between January and March of 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved more than 100,000 applications, but DACA may be challenged in court with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, threatening to take legal action if the program isn't phased out by Sept. 5.

Estrada is preparing to take her LSAT and in her free time, she helps develop resources for undocumented immigrants.

She is now on her own in the U.S. after her parents returned voluntarily to Mexico to help her brother who was struggling with depression and drug abuse, but she said without her family or DACA, all is not lost.

"DACA is not how the world starts or how it ends," said Estrada.