Nearly two years ago on January 26, 2016, Life of the Law presented Un-DACA-mented, a report on the Obama Administration’s DACA Program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program, begun in 2012, offered undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, a chance to defer deportation.

“Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature passed a bill this last session, Senate Bill 4, which gives broad powers to local law enforcement to inquire about an immigrant’s legal status, a person’s legal status. So there is a very real fear that if he is in the wrong place at the wrong time, or bumps into the wrong officer, they could very well inquire about his legal status.”

— Jose “Chito” Vela, Immigration Attorney representing Luis

Life of the Law producer Jonathan Hirsch traveled to Texas where he met Luis, a young man who came to the US from Mexico with his family when he was eight years old. In 2015, with the help of his family and Jose “Chito” Vela, a local immigration attorney, Luis was sorting out DACA requirements and regulations, immigration enforcement and shifting American politics. Our story left off with Luis hoping immigration authorities would favorably rule on a review of his case and grant him a DACA permit.

Since we shared Luis’s story, his immigration status and the DACA program have been in jeopardy. Throughout 2016, while campaigning for president, Donald Trump threatened to end the DACA program on his first day in office. On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department was ending the DACA program, but would give Congress six months to try and save the policy. Sessions also announced the Trump administration would not accept any new DACA applications, but would allow those already in the DACA program to apply for a two-year renewal if they applied by Thursday, October 5.

Unless Congress acts to save the DACA program, the last permit will expire on March 5, 2020.

This week on Life of the Law… we share Luis’s story and at the end of the episode, talk to his attorney and his mother, to find out what has happened since we first met Luis two years ago.

Episode 120: Life Un-DACAmented

Production Notes:

Life Un-DACAmented 2017 was reported by Jonathan Hirsch, with additional reporting by Nancy Mullane. This story was edited by Annie Avilés. Our post production editors are Kirsten Jusewicz-Haidle and Rachael Cain and our Senior Producer is Tony Gannon.  Music in this episode was from Blue Dot Sessions and Ian Coss. Katie McMurran was our engineer at the studios of KQED in San Francisco.

This episode of Life of the Law was funded in part by grants from the Law and Society Association, and the National Science Foundation.

Justworks was a sponsor of this episode of Life of the Law. Our listeners receive a free month when they join. Go to

© Copyright 2017 Life of the Law. All rights reserved.

Supplemental Reading:

Current US Citizenship and Immigration Service Page announcing the end of DACA:

Original United We Dream website announcing DACA