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Oregon DACA Recipient Says If Deported: "I Wouldn't Know How To Be Myself"

Karla Castenada crossed the border from Mexico when she was barely 5 years old. She grew up in Oregon and says she has no ties to her hometown in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.  

Yet Castenada is one of 800,000 young people who could end up deported as the Trump Administration ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. She told All Things Considered host Kate Davidson she’s worried — but also gearing up for a fight.

“I woke up really early because I couldn’t sleep. I saw the news; I saw the decision. And it made me really mad,” she said.  

She’s mad at the Trump administration but also at Democratic members of Congress.

“They had a lot of time to fight for me,” she said. “They had a lot of time to be a true ally, and they didn’t.”  

She applied for DACA status a year after the program’s creation by President Barack Obama in June 2012.  

“It was really scary to give you your information, because the government would have your name, your address, your phone number — they would know everything about you and could track you,” she said. “That was really scary, because the government never had our backs. So we waited to see if it was safe.”  

Castenada said she doesn’t know what she’ll do if Congress does not find a way to extend DACA protections.  

“I grew up knowing my culture and appreciating it,” she said. “But if I were to get deported to Mexico … I wouldn’t know how to be myself there.”  

Use the audio player at the top of this story to hear this full conversation.                    

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kate Davidson is OPB’s business and economics reporter. Before moving to Oregon, she was a regular contributor to "Marketplace", a reporter at Michigan Radio focused on economic change in the industrial Midwest and a producer at NPR.