Plaza Voices: The DACA Experience

DPL staff member Armando Peniche Rosales writes:

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live with DACA? I often get asked by friends about my experience living with deferred action under the current administration. With DACA being a popular topic in politics, it is hard to explain the constant ups and downs that can come with it. One day the program is in full force and accepting renewal applications; the next day the program is being challenged in the court system. The best way to describe it is with an experience most of us can relate to. Do you remember the first time you rode a roller coaster?

I remember being a 10-year-old boy waiting in line to ride the famous Twister at the old Elitch Gardens. My stomach was growling from nerves, telling me, “Don’t do it, you’re still young!” The next step was getting in the train and securing myself for the ride that was to come. It starts with a slow ascendance to the top, where you realize there is no backing out, and you're in for a wild ride. When you reach the top you get a birds-eye view of the surrounding area. At this moment, just for a split second, time slows down and you feel like you are on top of the world. Just as you are enjoying a peaceful moment you realize the train is inching closer to the edge. No time for bravery, no time for regret--brace yourself, because you are going down. 

That’s the way DACA recipients have felt about our lives for several years now. Just like a roller coaster ride, the cycle repeats several times before leaving you emotionally drained and with a sore body. The last two years have been a battle to keep DACA alive. The current administration has been relentless in its efforts to kill it, but has been blocked by different court rulings and pressure from allies. And while this 6-year roller coaster ride has no end in sight, we still have to continue living our lives.  

DACA has given me the opportunity to proudly work for the Denver Public Library. This has resulted in my having the ability to provide for my family and become a homeowner. It gave me the chance to further my education, to be able to dream again after being in the shadows for so long. But all of these wonderful things come with a price. I missed the funeral of my grandfather who was the most influential person in my life. I have many cousins, nephews, and nieces I have never met. Last Christmas my mother got sick and had to move back to Mexico to get the help she couldn’t get here because she was undocumented. Every night I wonder when, and if, I will ever get to see her again. Thankfully, the community and friends around me have helped me navigate through some of the hard times.

There are many resources available to people living with DACA. Thanks to the hard work of our allies and wonderful community we are able to get help with things like renewal fees, scholarships, and mortgage loans. If you are out there on the roller coaster ride that is the undocumented life, please know that there are good people out there fighting for us. After all, we are on this train together. Remember, you are not alone. 

To find out more about DACA and get help with your own case, please see our DACA Resource Guide. To read about the history of the DACA program, check out our previous blog on Dreamers. And please drop by a Plaza program in a branch near you for support in reaching your own personal goals.

Plazas are an open community space where immigrants from all over the world connect with people, information, and resources, building Denver’s global community. Come to practice a language, prepare for citizenship, pursue your goals, and create your future. Whatever you’re doing, we can help! Please see our web page for more information.


Written by Plaza Voices on September 5, 2018


Yanira on September 6, 2018


Thank you Armando for sharing your experience with the rest of us. We are so fortunate to have you here at DPL. You are a positive force for our coworkers, customers, and community. Abrazos!


Thank you Yanira, I am proud to be part of this wonderful community, Abrazos!

Vivi on September 6, 2018


Armando, eres una persona de caracter y de fuerza. Muchas personas como tu que luchan dia a dia para seguir adelante. Mi admiracion y respeto para ti. Un privilegio ser parte del equipo DPL y trabajar juntos.


Muchas gracias Vivi! I appreciate the comment, it is a privilege to work with you and the great team we have. Gracias!

Yvonne on September 6, 2018


Thank you for sharing your story. We need more and more stories like yours to get out. You are amazing in everything you do!


Thank you for taking the time to read it! I appreciate the comment.

Yocko on September 7, 2018


It is a pleasure to have you on the WDB team you are an awesome co worker. You always strive to provide the best customer service to our DPL customers in both Spanish and English you are a true asset to DPL. Best wishes and hope this roller coaster ride ends soon with a positive outcome


It is such a pleasure to be on the WDB team. Thank you for your kind words, I have faith this ride will end with a positive outcome, thank you!

Dana F on September 10, 2018


Armando - Thank you for reminding us about the individuals, like you, who are directly affected by current political events. It's easy to tune out the constant barrage of bad news, but you have reminded me that real people's lives are being adversely affected.

Jinh on December 12, 2018


cool driving games I really like it when folks get together and share views. Great blog, stfick with it!