Except for the first four or five months of her life, Sinthia Rosado Veronica has spent all of her 25 years in the United States, mostly in Utah.
She graduated from Granger High School and will receive a degree in nursing this spring from Salt Lake Community College. She’s planning to go to the University of Utah for an advanced degree to become a family nurse practitioner.
While Rosado Veronica knows where she’s headed, her future is uncertain. Because her parents brought her from Mexico as an infant, she is among millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, allows her to stay, but she can’t become an American citizen. The Obama-era program lets some people without lawful presence in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children receive a renewable two-year deferral from deportation and obtain a work permit. It does not provide a path to citizenship.
A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 55% of Utahns support legislation the U.S. House passed last month to provide a legal path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” or who have temporary protected status.
The survey found 38% oppose the bill, while 7% are not sure.
However, all four of Utah’s Republican congressmen voted against the American Dream and Promise Act. It faces an unsure path in the Senate.
“It’s difficult just because things like that have come by before and it’s like, is it actually going to pass this time or should I just not get my hopes up?” Rosado Veronica said. “I do hope it passes, but at the same time I’m not trying to get my hopes up so I can’t feel disappointed if it doesn’t pass.”
Rosado Veronica, who works as an intern at SLCC’s Dream Center where she will help put on its first “UndocuWeek” this month, has had to learn to live with uncertainty.
The House bill would make DACA recipients and other unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States before age 18 eligible to apply for a 10-year period of conditional permanent residence if they satisfy several requirements.
The proposed law allows eligible applicants to apply for permanent residence if they earned a college degree or enrolled in a bachelor’s program for two years, if they served in the military for at least two years, or if they worked in the U.S. for a three-year period.
“Life still goes on regardless of what’s going to happen there,” Rosado Veronica said.
Last month, the Utah Board of Higher Education unanimously approved a resolution vowing to help Dreamers succeed in the state. It aims to work with Utah’s public colleges and universities and K-12 schools to expand resources and streamline processes for admission and enrollment to undocumented and DACA-eligible students.
As Congress debates how to deal with undocumented immigrants already in the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is trying to get a handle on the crush of asylum seekers showing up at the border with Mexico, including thousands of unaccompanied children.
Asked what the best way is to decrease illegal immigration, 38% of Utahns say the U.S. needs to strengthen security at the border, while 23% say there must be increased access to legal entry or asylum.
Another 17% say providing economic or humanitarian aid to regions where migrants leave to make the journey to the border is the solution. Only 8% of Utahns say more restrictions on legal immigration or asylum is the answer.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who recently visited the Mexican border, blames President Joe Biden’s administration for creating a crisis at the border with its own immigration policies. Lee said the problems could be solved by going back to or expanding some now-abandoned Trump-era policies, including the “safe…