DACA decision: OC 'Dreamers' relieved by Supreme Court ruling, but want broader protections

Two Orange County DACA recipients are relieved after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, but say the program is not enough because millions still live in the shadows.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Two Orange County recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals program, better knows as DACA, say they are able to somewhat breathe a sigh of relief after U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Thursday against the cancellation of the program.

Twenty-five year-old Ana Ramirez was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 11.

"Currently, the only option of any sort of status that I have is DACA," Ramirez said.

The UCLA graduate put her education and personal experience toward advocacy work in her community.

Oscar Hernandez was settling into his general surgery residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio when he heard the news.

Eyewitness News first brought you Hernandez's story at the end of May.

Hernandez is the first undocumented immigrant to graduate from the University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

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The 31-year-old Mexican immigrant made his journey to the U.S just before turning two years old.

"It was like a culmination of the last 30 years of work for them and for me," Hernandez said about his graduation.

Both DACA recipients say the program was not enough because it left left millions living in the shadows, vulnerable to exploitation.

"This decision is temporary, as is DACA, and it gives me the opportunity to keep being a resident physician toward my goals, but it also pushes me because we need something more permanent so that this doesn't happen again, not only for DACA students, but for the 11,12 million undocumented immigrants in this country," Hernandez said.

The two argued DACA is an example of the mechanisms rampant throughout our nation which allowed for social injustice. They said this was the reason movements like Black Lives Matter were necessary and why all underrepresented communities must stand strong together.

"Many of us that are DACA recipients and those that don't have DACA and other people that are also allies - we have and will continue to push for the defunding of the police and law enforcement agencies like ICE because, like I said, they continue to perpetuate the harm and the criminalization in our communities," Ramirez said.

It was estimated nearly 800,000 people were DACA recipients. The program does not provide a pathway to permanent legal status or citizenship.
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