By Alicia Neaves
Under the president's Dreamers program, children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents can stay if they meet certain qualifications. But one student who fought for that program ironically missed one qualification two times in a row.
Marco Malagon was a part of a group who fought for a long time to make that program DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a reality. He tells NewsWest 9 that the program's establishment was not a victory of the president, but of the people.
"We started seeing a lot of migration right after 1994 because there was no jobs and kids have to eat. So a lot of them, or their family members, in my case, my brothers, decided to come to the states because it was the easiest way for them to come and support our family in Mexico," Marco Malagon, Student at the University of Texas at Dallas, said.
Malagon was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico. He came to the U.S. in 1999 at the age of 17. He worked three jobs, earned minimum wage and mastered his English.
He hasn't seen his mother in 15 years but talks with her daily to see how his family is doing back in Mexico.
While in school, Malagon fought tirelessly for the DACA program. When it became a reality, it was bittersweet as this dream came true for so many, except for Malagon.
"I was really devastated because I fought so hard for this. I've been one of the students that has been pushing and we were the ones that strategized to get DACA in the first place," Malagon said.
When DACA was first established, immigrants who arrived before the age of 16 and before June of 2007 qualified for a work permit and for deferred deportation.
Under Obama's new Executive Action on immigration, those who arrived on or before January first of 2010 qualify to stay longer.
Malagon missed the mark by one year for the second time.
"By knowing that this was my second time that I got left out, this is devastating for me and my soul. I feel an emptiness because I fought so hard for this, and yet again, I'm not eligible," Malagon said.
Although heartbroken, Malagon is not losing hope. He feels millions like himself have been overlooked but he will continue to move forward.
"I'm not gonna be hiding from anybody because I feel that this country told me that I need to do good. That I need to study, that I need to behave, that I need to follow every law and I have done it," Malagon said.