MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Thursday was the deadline for those to renew their enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for another two years. Through this program, children who entered the country illegally could stay for work or school. Many young people, who are enrolled are now unsure of what their future holds.
"I said the pledge of allegiance every morning. I went to baseball games and teared up when they sing the national anthem. I'm just like everybody else. The only thing i don't have is a piece of paper," said a local DACA recipient.
Uncertainty remains among thousands illegal immigrants.
"The only thing I knew is we didn't travel as much as other people," said the 23-year-old Midland woman.
She is one of the thousands of people who rushed to renew before Thursday's deadline. She didn't want us to reveal her identity, but she's been in the program since it began in 2012, graduating from high school, college, now pursing a master's degree.
"I've pretty much lived a normal life. I was just like any other American student. Of course that motivates you more to do well in school. Just do your best," she said.
Growing up she never noticed a difference. Her family rode a bus to the U.S. under a temporary visa, but stayed past it's expiration date. She was just 5 years old, unaware of her status until the age of 15.
This month she renewed her enrollment for the third time.
"I haven't been approved for it yet. I'm kind of still in limbo stage, but hopefully if it gets approved, it at least gives me a chance to continue my education. I didn't choose to come here illegally. So, I'm just trying to do my legal part right now," she said.
For the future, she says she's hoping that Congress will find a way give her and so many others a path to citizenship.
"I don't want to leave and go live anywhere else. It's sad that people that I'm here don't want us here. It's my home. I love America," she said.
Federal officials say all work permits issued under DACA will be honored until they expire, but all dreamers are now waiting on Congress to act. A bi-partisan bill would need to be passed that essentially re-creates the DACA program or addresses these illegally entered children in some way.
If that doesn't happen and Congress fails to pass such a bill, nearly 300,000 people will lose their status and be at risk of deportation in 2018 and the numbers go up from there.