DACA Time: Software for Hope

Three years ago, I moved to Columbus, OH to start my career as a design engineer at an international automotive company. After setting in, I met my boyfriend, Brook, on Bumble. We dated for about a year before I told him about my immigration status and my difficulties filling out my DACA application. I had to renew my DACA permit this past July, and I was worried about taking on the challenge on my own – especially because making a mistake in the DACA forms meant being at risk of deportation.

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Brook ended up being very supportive, even coming up with an idea to help others like me submit all of the immigration paperwork faster, and more cheaply and accurately. He called the platform DACA Time and pitched it at various events around Columbus, Ohio and ended up with $45,195 of funding from the Columbus Foundation and the United Way, with in-kind support in the form of office space and servers from the Wells Foundation. About halfway through developing our software, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration would rescind DACA.

When I heard this announcement, a wide range of feelings took over. I was angry by the wording used, which targeted DACA recipients. I was sad for the 800,000 other people like me whose lives were about to take a turn for the worse. I was scared to be deported to a country I know little about (I left Peru when I was in elementary school). I was also worried that all our work on DACA Time was worthless.

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The public outcry of support for DREAMers that followed the president’s decision has really given me hope. Brook and I talked to as many media outlets as possible in the Columbus area, and I shared my story with thousands of strangers. We saw a change when two of our extremely conservative congressmen signed onto the Recognize America’s Children (RAC) Act, which basically continues DACA and provides a pathway to permanent residency after five years.

Once the new legislation is passed, DACA Time will help others in my situation fill out their paperwork using easy, user-friendly software. Also, since I will be finally able to leave the US and come back without getting deported, Brook and I will take a nice trip to Peru to visit my 97 year-old grandfather whom I have not seen since I was nine. 

If you were upset to learn about DACA ending, I ask that you please help us keep up the pressure on Congress. Call your Representative and ask them to support the DREAMers!

Nathali B. is one of the creative forces behind DACA Time, and an engineer in the automotive industry. She is based in Columbus, OH.