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‘This is all I really know as home,’ says local DACA recipient in fear of deportation

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – President Donald Trump is weighing a decision that could impact thousands of young people brought into the country illegally as children.

The president on Tuesday will decide on whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, according to the White House.

DACA was set up under former President Barack Obama. Since being enacted, it has given 2-year work permits to nearly 800,000 young illegal immigrants, some right here in the Piedmont Triad.

If DACA is ended Tuesday, North Carolina's economy is set to lose more than $1 billion a year, according to CNBC.

“I’m afraid that I’ll lose this opportunity to go to college,” said Araceli Garcia Garnica, a DACA recipient from Greensboro. “I'm afraid that I won't be able to get a decent job. I fear being deported.”

Garnica says her family moved to Greensboro from Mexico when she was two years old.

“I spent a lifetime here,” Garnica said. “This is all I really know as home.”

Garnica says her family came here illegally so that she could have access to a better education. As freshman at Bennett College, she hopes to one day own her own business.

“I've gone from teachers telling me that I don't speak English correctly to professors with degrees behind their names saying that I belong in that classroom,” Garnica said.

Now, she fears that her hard work could be for nothing if President Trump decides to remove the deferred action for childhood arrivals program, which protects people who were brought to the states illegally as children from immediate deportation. It also allows them the opportunity to work.

“I honestly don't know what I would be able to do if I wasn't able to go to college or get a job legally here,” Garnica said.

Garnica says she had to write an essay, pass a background check and wait months to be accepted in to DACA program. Now, she's wants the president to recognize the importance of the program for people like her.

“I hope we gain some support and the president sees that we want this opportunity and we need it,” Garnica said. “This is all we have and we hope that he makes the right decision and knows that this is not just impacting citizens but it’s impacting those who want to be citizens, those who want the opportunity to prove themselves."

A group of DACA recipients and their supporters will be holding a march in downtown Greensboro Monday evening to spread awareness about their situation and call on the president to keep the program.