Fresno DACA recipient says she feels hope after Joe Biden's inauguration

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- President Joe Biden has already signed a series of executive orders that focus on immigration.

That includes preserving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Aracely Rodriquez, a DACA recipient in Fresno, said that she and thousands of others protected by the program are feeling more hopeful just hours after the inauguration.

In his first day in office, President Joe Biden started by signing several executive actions focusing on immigration.

That includes a call to safeguard the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that the Trump administration attempted to end.

"It's a good and positive day in the immigration community," said Joshua Longoria, an immigration attorney in Fresno who represents dozens of DACA recipients.

He says this action will help at least 700,000 people renew their applications.

"There's a lot of newer-generation DACA students that haven't had to deal with the fear of deportation. That was something we were worried about. Hopefully these changes mean they won't have to go through that," he said.

Rodriguez got her DACA status in 2015, and works for a nonprofit helping other immigrants.

She, however, said there need to be a more permanent policy.

"We're looking for a permanent solution. It (DACA) was more of a temporary BandAid. It's not going to lead to any long-term assistance," she said.

Biden plans to send an immigration reform bill to Congress, which would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

While most people would wait eight years for citizenship, those enrolled in DACA and farmworkers could end up only having to wait three according to the proposed bill.

Biden also issued executive orders reversing some of the former administration's policies, such as stopping work on the Mexico border wall and lifting a travel ban on people from several predominantly Muslim countries.

Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno officials said for years, the ban made them feel targeted.

"It made us feel like we didn't belong here, that we were less than. We need comprehensive immigration reform that answers all the needs are our brothers and sisters have," said executive director Reza Nekumanesh.
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