INDIANAPOLIS — Viviana Castelan Alamillo has been closely following President Joe Biden's efforts to dramatically and quickly change immigration in our country. Alamillo is a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient and comes from a mixed-status family which means some of her family members are citizens and some are not. That's why President Biden's proposed plan means so much to her.
"If he does give some kind of path to citizenship, permanent status, or work authorization to begin with or even licenses, all of these smaller things that seem very little are going to make a large impact," Alamillo said.
As of now, President Biden has signed an executive order directing Homeland Security to take the necessary steps to preserve DACA as it is. The White House also sent to Congress an immigration bill called the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. It would immediately give DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship. All of this brings Alamillo some comfort after dealing with the last administration and their efforts to end DACA which would have turned Alamillo's life with her husband and son upside down.
"Trump just really tried to beat down DACA and cut it completely off. We didn't know what to do. That meant us losing the jobs we had built on within the years," Alamillo said. "It meant half-way through your career in college, dropping it. It meant you cannot drive anymore because your license expires with your DACA permit. It meant your mortgage that you have to your house you can no longer keep paying because you're going to lose your job."
Despite the repeated efforts, none of that came to fruition. Alamillo is now looking toward the future. President Biden's Immigration Bill also provides an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented individuals who were in the United States as of January 1, 2021. It includes backgrounds checks, paying taxes and other requirements.
People like Alamillo are hopeful that for the first time in a long time, they will not have to worry about someone they love being deported. Alamillo tells WRTV she's thankful for all the work that has gone into overhauling our country's immigration system.
"People before me are the ones to thank for all this change because it's not just one person. It's hundreds and hundreds of people who go out and protest to make a difference and try to change policies and give equity and equality for many communities and minorities," Alamillo said.