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Why DACA recipients can't apply for citizenship

Posted: 5:22 PM, Sep 06, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-07 18:19:51Z

DACA recipients are now coming forward hoping for a pathway to permanent residency in the United States. 

Twenty four-year-old Erik Arcos came to the United States when he was six with his grandparents. His grandfather is an American citizen, and his grandmother later became one. His mother stayed in Mexico to work.

It wasn't until he went to apply for a drivers license that he realized he was undocumented. 

"I was confused," says Arcos. "I grew up here, played little league and went to school."

After seeking legal advice and being patient with little to no hope, the Obama administration offered the DACA program. 

"I felt comfortable that I can actually contribute to society and be part of the community, go to school and further my education without being afraid of being deported," says Arcos. 

Arcos now studies at the University of Arizona to become a biomedical engineer with a dream to help people. 

But without the DACA program that would be nearly impossible because DACA recipients cannot apply to become the U.S. citizens and can't become residents despite what many people think. 

"Since we were brought here illegally we don't really have that option," says Arcos. "With the permit that we have we can't leave the country, we can't apply for residency and we don't have that path."

Acros says he hopes Congress will step up and come up with a permanent plan for him and the 800,000 DACA recipients.  

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