Erubey Camacho’s path towards receiving a top class education has been a daunting task, and may only become more challenging as the nation faces an immigration upheaval.
At 2-years-old Camacho was brought to the U.S. by his Mexican parents, who left poverty and violent stricken Sinaloa in search of a better life.
“Practically, all I know is the United States,” he said. “I’ve grown to love the stores, the people, and the area. I love this place.”
Now as a 20-year-old Colton, the gifted San Bernardino Valley College cross-country and track athlete faces the likelihood of losing federal protections that have helped hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants attend college and find decent employment.
Former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program could be at its sunset–with current President Donald Trump focusing on eliminating protections for immigrants.
Camacho, who graduated from Colton High School in 2015, was slated to attend the Southern Arkansas University on an athletic scholarship, but was allegedly denied admission later by officials because of his inability to receive federal aid.
“The coach ripped the contract,” he said. “Even though I was heartbroken, I understood the situation.”
About 750,000 young immigrants, who like Camacho were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, could now find their opportunities for educational and economic prosperity dwindling.
Camacho explained he’s been left with the difficult decision to choose to study law at UC Irvine or at St. Mary’s University in Leavenworth, Kansas. Attending St. Mary’s leaves him with the option of continuing his athletic pursuits, while remaining in-state will likely end his cross country collegiate career.
Either way, Camacho sometimes contemplates whether either choice will be worthy of the commitment.
“What’s the point of going to school, accumulating this debt, if in the end I may be stripped of my work authorization,” said Camacho. “And I’ll be at risk of being deported.
When asked whether he believed Trump’s actions toward immigration were justified, Camacho expressed his concerns for immigrants like himself that are not tied to criminal elements.
“If a person has a bad record, then obviously they should take action,” he said. “But if someone is trying to come in to live a better life, then I don’t see why we should be denied that opportunity.”
Camacho said if his parents are deported, he will be “completely screwed.” He would be tasked with taking care of his 15-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister.
“I would have drop out of school,” said Camacho. “My dream would be basically over.”