What would our local arts communities look like without DACA? Just ask Johan, a standup comedian, and Lauren, an actress and musician, whose emerging careers are a direct result of the freedom and stability afforded by the program.
Implemented in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) granted individuals who entered the United States as minors temporary protection from deportation — along with work permit eligibility.
Johan was born in Peru and grew up in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, not even knowing he was undocumented until he was a teenager. Simple freedoms his friends enjoyed in high school were unavailable to him -- like getting a driver’s license and making plans for college.
In Los Angeles, Lauren, whose family came from Korea when she was a child, remembers the helplessness of being stuck between the only country she's known and the impossibility of living a full life here. “Why was I in this country, if I can’t fulfill my dreams?” she says.
Then DACA was announced in 2012, and their lives were filled with possibility.