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Personal Essay: Awaiting The DACA Decision

Various signs and artwork with positive affirmations. One sign in the foreground is legible and says you can change the world, girl.
Natalie Van Hoozer
Olga is passionate about social justice and displays artwork with positive affirmations on her bedside table.

As early as Thursday, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. Also known as DACA, the immigration policy grants undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children an opportunity to obtain a renewable two-year work permit and protection from deportation.

The program started during the Obama administration in 2012 and was suspended by the Trump administration in 2017.

Olga is a DACA recipient, who asked us not to use her last name due to her vulnerable immigration status. Born in Mexico, Olga came to Reno with her parents in 2000 when she was a year old. She’s recorded a personal essay sharing what it’s like to await this decision that will impact her future.

My name is Olga. I am now a senior at the university, and I am preparing to graduate in December of this year. I will be double majoring in political science and international affairs, with a minor in ethnic studies. I currently work full-time at a local nonprofit organization aimed at providing legal services to the surrounding community.

My goal is ultimately to continue onto law school in hopes of soon becoming a successful deportation defense attorney. The immigrant struggle is real, and I hope to continue to fight for all those who find themselves in similar situations.

A tote bag with an illustration of Frida Kahlo's face printed on it.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer
Olga says she is inspired by world-renown Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and hangs this tote bag on her bedroom door handle.

My days have not felt the same ever since realizing the Supreme Court’s DACA decision could come any day now. These unpredictable moments have left me feeling an immense amount of anxiety and uncertainty. It’s hard to be happy at all times, knowing that something very huge could be impacting my future.

Instead of choosing to soak in my anxious thoughts, I have instead been choosing to keep myself busy doing things I love around those who make me happy. Today, my spontaneous activity of the day consisted of a nice hike along the Hidden Valley Trail with my boyfriend. It is in these moments that I realize just how necessary it is to keep myself preoccupied doing the things that I love in order to allow my mind to feel at ease in the moments leading up to the buildup of stress once again. To end the night, I spend some more time in my backyard with my family. Tonight, we sit around the campfire and roast marshmallows as we talk and reminisce on old memories.

An illustrated card of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is placed on a shelf.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer
Olga keeps items important to her lined up neatly on shelves in her room.

As I prepare myself for bed tonight, I begin to feel my anxiety kick in once more as I think about what could happen tomorrow morning. Will I be able to continue to live securely in this country, or will they make me leave? What will happen to my family? These thoughts cloud my head and leave me thinking. 

Tonight, I pray, and I ask God for reassurance and protection during these difficult times. “It will all be okay, todo va a estar bien,” I repeat to myself. But a part of me still holds back and prevents me from getting my hopes up. Only time will tell. 

This story was produced in partnership with Noticiero Móvil.

Natalie is a freelance journalist and translator based in Reno, Nevada, who reports in English and Spanish. She also works for the nonprofit SembraMedia, supporting independent, digital Spanish-language media in the United States.
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