“Come on, mamita!” Yarely, 25, cheers. She watches her younger sister, Aileen, race up and down the field. Yarely, her parents, her other two siblings, and Yarely’s boyfriend set up blankets and chairs along the sidelines, buy ice cream from the nearby paletería and chat with other families. As she often does on Sundays, Yarely is spending the day with her family. Together they attend church, cook a meal at home, and encourage Aileen at her weekly soccer game. She is close with her tight-knit family, and remembers her own days playing soccer and growing up here in the Salinas Valley, California.
A DACA recipient, Yarely is the first in her family to pursue higher education and earn a college degree. She is now a software engineer with a San Francisco based tech company, and in her spare time runs a nonprofit in her community for women interested in web and software development. She’s able to work from her home in the Salinas Valley, however, which allows her to live near her family. Without DACA, Yarely could not go to school, work or even drive legally in the U.S. She reflects on what losing her DACA status would mean: “The end of DACA would change my life drastically. It would not only affect me, but create a ripple effect starting from me, to my family, my community, and my country. I would no longer be able to contribute to the economy, support my family, and give back to my community.”