Akiko Aspillaga was 10 when she and her mother flew to the U.S. from Manila. Her mom received a work visa, which eventually expired. Aspillaga said even with DACA status she has lived with a feeling of being under "a constant cloud."
Still, she followed her heart and this year married a Japanese man. Her husband stayed in his homeland and hopes his promised hiring by an employer willing to sponsor his move to New York will go through. Aspillaga, 30, said this and threats surrounding DACA have made her think about whether she will have to leave the country she has called home.
"For me, that's why I always work hard and keep saving and making backup plans," she said. "We gotta have it. Plan A. Plan B. And C."
Not knowing what would happen with her immigration status forced her, at one point, to juggle three nursing jobs -- balancing between an ambulatory surgical center, a primary care clinic and an urgent care facility. She had to save money for "an unknown future" for herself and her ailing mother, who had suffered from a bad fall last year that caused her brain to bleed.
"We're all in survival mode, now that we have a president who cares more about his political gain than how tens of thousands of lives are affected," said Aspillaga. "DACA was never the end goal. You can apply and reapply. It's a temporary fix, but it's better than not having a fix before."
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