BRADENTON — Last month President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program without any policy in place to address the 800,000 immigrants known as Dreamers who were protected by DACA.
Thursday, thousands of them missed a deadline to file an extension to legally stay in the US.
One Bradenton family is living in fear that the destruction of this policy will rip them apart.
Patricia Lara grew up in Manatee County. She's a rape crisis advocate, the breadwinner in her family. She provides for her little sister Maria and her 2-year-old niece Alyssa.
And if the protections from DACA that allow her to legally live and work in the U.S. go away, her family could be ripped apart.
“It's so much that we have to prepare for,” Lara said. “It's so much that do you have to think about. Everything. People don't think about – OK if I get deported, you have to turn off this this and that, you have to close bank accounts, you have to ... the power is under my name, you have to turn off the water, you have to do something with the lease.
"She won't be able to afford this house, so then what's going to happen? How much time is she going to have to move out?” she asked looking at her younger sister.
For her part, Maria, an American citizen, is now considering taking her American daughter and deporting herself to go with her older sister if it comes to that.
“She's honestly all that I have,” Maria said. "You know, I would just honestly be lost. Because if it wasn't for her, I would have done a lot of things. I wouldn't had grown up to be who I am today.
"It just hurts ... If she goes I just go because I don't have nothing here.”
Above all, Patricia is a survivor.
“They can take my papers away, they're not going to take my knowledge, they're not going to take my will to survive, my work ethic,” Patricia said. “So wherever I go, even though it is going to hurt to be ripped from the only home I know, I will be able to make it. But I will be leaving behind people who did need me as a support system.
"I think that's the hardest thing ... what's going to happen to them when I'm not here.”
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