“And they just told me to sign here and here. Well I signed. And I guess I signed for my deportation.” – Luis

Luis crossed the border into the US when he was 8 years old. For years he lived with his family, attended local public schools, learned English and made friends. Years passed. Luis now lives in the US as a young adult without the necessary immigration documentation to get work and raise his own US born children.

In 2012, with immigration reform stalled in Congress, the President Obama’s then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, signed a memo known as the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals. DACA asks U.S. immigration officials to hold off deporting immigrants who came to the US as children, but who are now 15 years or older. 

Luis was hoping to apply for DACA but a routine encounter with a local sheriff changed everything.

“And then from there they took me to the room to the cell. Then they just said that I was going to Mexico and they were just waiting on the bus to arrive. I told them I was scared because I didn’t know that place. I don’t know a lot of stuff came to my mind. It’s just like this feeling you get when you don’t think of anything but your mind goes blank you know? Have you ever had that feeling?”   – Luis

In April 2016, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on an expanded version of the DACA program. DACA isn’t legislation, but the question before the Court is whether President Obama’s Administration had the authority to answer immigration problems with an executive policy, or whether he overstepped his authority? In June, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on DACA that will directly affect the immigration status of close to four million people.

In our new episode, UnDACAmented, Life of the Law reporter Jonathan Hirsch takes us into the world of Luis.


Full Transcript of UnDACAmented



UnDACAmented was reported by Jonathan Hirsch and edited by Annie Murphy with sound design and production by Jonathan Hirsch. Music by Blue Dot Sessions and Abe Sada. Special thanks to Victoria Spencer and JoAnn Deluna. 


dividerThis episode of Life of the Law was funded in part by our listeners and by grants from the Open Society Foundation, the Law and Society Association, the Proteus Fund and the National Science Foundation.

This episode of Life of the Law was sponsored by Squarespace.

© Copyright 2016 Life of the Law. All rights reserved.