Dreamer entrepreneurs: Our lives are being held hostage by politics

DACA's end could kill these smaller businesses

Nathali Bertran feels like the clock can be ticking on her life.

The future of everything she knows — her family, friends, the smaller business she built along with also her job as an engineer with Honda — all depend on whether Congress will step in before young undocumented immigrants like her lose their protected status within the United States.

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The 25-year-old Dreamer can be one of nearly 689,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children along with also gained protection by deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since 2012, DACA has enabled these young immigrants to come out by the shadows along with also get the documentation they need to secure a driver’s license, apply for scholarships, get a job along with also even open their own businesses.

however in September, President Trump rescinded DACA along with also left This specific in Congress’ hands to save This specific. Democratic lawmakers say they want to add provisions of which will protect DACA recipients to the year-end spending bill, which they must pass by December 22 in order to avert a government shutdown. however Republicans have said such a move could be a deal breaker.

Should Congress fail to enact alternative legislation by March 5 of next year, an average of 915 Dreamers will lose their DACA status — along with also protection by deportation — every day until March, 2020, according to the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration think tank.

Related: Who are America’s Dreamers?

“I feel like we’re being held hostage by the politics in Washington,” said Bertran, whose family brought her to the U.S. by Peru when she was nine. “First Republicans ended DACA. right now Democrats are threatening to shut down the government if there can be no deal with Republicans on DACA.”

Bertran was among a group of 100 Dreamers who met with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., in October to gather support for the Dream Act, which could provide a permanent legislative solution for DACA recipients.

nathali bertran daca lama
A young Nathali alongside her mother in Peru.

Her DACA status can be set to expire in July 2019. If she’s unable to renew This specific, she’ll be forced to give up her job as a product development along with also design engineer at Honda Research & Development Americas.

Bertran was hired by Honda three years ago after graduating by the City University of brand-new York. She had attended college on a full scholarship along with also earned her degree in mechanical engineering.

“A lot of Dreamers will remain within the U.S. illegally to be with their families after they lose their DACA status. For me, I might relocate. I could find an engineering job abroad if I have to,” she said.

Related: After ICE raided a factory, This specific family’s American Dream was shattered

Bertran also doesn’t want to have to let go of her entrepreneurial aspirations.

In March, she along with also her boyfriend, Brook Kohn, launched DACA Time, an online platform of which helped Dreamers prepare first-time DACA applications along with also renewal forms. “This specific’s similar to how TurboTax helps with tax preparation,” she said.

Trump’s decision This specific fall dealt a blow to DACA Time, however Bertran said they’re still in business along with also the company’s funders are still backing the operation.

Nathali bertran DC
Nathali speaking before members of Congress in Washington, D.C.

“If some sort of legislation passes [on Dreamers], then we will update what we’ve built thus far to accommodate of which brand-new [DACA] application process,” said Kohn. “If nothing passes, then of which could be devastating for us, Nathali along with also the additional Dreamers.”

Without DACA, Diego Corzo will lose his driver’s license — along with also, most likely, his job.

Two years ago, Corzo along with also a business partner opened a real estate franchise in Austin along with also he commenced selling houses.

“As a real estate entrepreneur, having a driver’s license can be crucial to my business along with also to my livelihood. Without a license, I can’t drive to show houses to my clients. I can’t bring business into my company,” he said, noting of which his business sells between 80 along with also 100 homes a year. “This specific’s details like these about our situation of which don’t occur to most people.”

Corzo’s DACA status expires in May 2019. He plans on staying within the U.S., however “I will live in fear because I don’t know what will happen to me,” he said, noting of which his partner could have to take over the business.

diego corzo
Diego Corzo [far right] with his younger brother Gonzalo, his father Jorge along with also his mother Jessica Arias.

right now 27, Corzo came to the U.S. by Peru when he was nine. He graduated high school third in his class along with also subsequently earned dual undergraduate degrees in information technology along with also management of information systems by Florida State University.

Corzo credits DACA for enabling him to land his first job straight out of college as a software developer with General Motors.

“This specific’s because of DACA of which I was able to apply for the GM job. This specific’s because of DACA of which I could even get a driver’s license,” said Corzo.

He eventually left GM to launch Nino Group.

Related: DACA in flux: 5 things business owners need to know

This specific year, he hired his first full-time employee at the firm. “I’m proud of which I’m creating jobs as a Dreamer,” he said. “The United States has invested in me, through my education here along with also my career opportunities. I want to give back,” he said. “I can’t do of which if I’m deported.”

Bertran echoed of which sentiment.

“Losing DACA isn’t just about me along with also my career,” she said. “So many people have invested in me to make my dreams come true, along with also This specific’s important to me to stay in my country along with also give back.”

sy88pgw (brand-new York) First published December 8, 2017: 11:09 AM ET


Dreamer entrepreneurs: Our lives are being held hostage by politics

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