Trump’s DACA reversal a nightmare to this west Michigan ‘dreamer’

donald j trump president of the united states of america

Wilfredo Diaz came to America when he was 9. At 22, he may have to return to Guatemala because of a decision made by President Trump.

wilfredo diaz

Wilfredo Diaz: “If I could say one thing to Trump, I would ask him not to go through with this because it would crush all of our futures.” (Bridge photo by Brian Widdis)

Wilfredo Diaz says he “never thought this day would come.” And yet here it is. President Donald Trump is expected to announce today the end of the program that allowed undocumented immigrants brought here as children to stay in the United States without fear of deportation.

“I am confused and scared that this is actually going to happen,” said Diaz, a Guatemala native who came to the United States at age 9. “I don't know what I will do if I am deported.”

Diaz is one of an estimated 840,000 undocumented immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, created by executive order in 2012 by President Obama.

Despite his fear that he and his family could be deported, Diaz agreed to participate in Michigan Divided, Bridge Magazine’s year-long series about 11 Michigan individuals and families of different backgrounds and beliefs. The project is an effort to understand the political and social issues that divide us, and the common ground that just might bring us together.

In March, Diaz said he agreed to participate in the series “because I want people to know we’re not here to harm the country or commit crimes. We’re here to pursue our dreams and a better life.”

Trump is expected to announce the termination of the DACA program today, with an end date in six months.

Because Diaz signed up for the DACA program, federal authorities “know where I am, where I work, everything about me. Before that, I was a ghost.”

Diaz grew up in Guatemala in a mud and straw house with a dirt floor. “I came here at such a young age that getting sent back would crush all my dreams,” Diaz said Monday. “I would have to start all over there and try to get used to the way of life there.

“I have a lot of friends that are also Dreamers and I know that they are feeling scared just like me.”

RELATED: University of Michigan won’t “do work of police’ to track DACA students

“If I could say something to Trump, I would ask him to not go through with this,” Diaz said, “because it would crush all of our futures and we would all be devastated.”

RELATED: Mom has sick husband, baby – and looming deportation to ‘home’ she’s never known


Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


Le Roy G. Barnett
Tue, 09/05/2017 - 8:47am

George W. Bush, when campaigning for president, wanted to make it clear he was not your normal conservative. He was different. He stated on numerous occasions that he was "a compassionate conservative." It looks like normal conservatism is now back in vogue.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:08am

This president seems like the kind of person who driving would steer out of his way to run over a turtle or kitten in the road. Cruel, sadistic and without any compassion. Why is he still 'president'?

I guess until Mueller makes his case and he resigns. Can't come soon enough.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:03pm

Twenty-two minus 9 equals 13. Thirteen years to apply legally to stay in this country. I too have a dream that I can adequately support my family. I pay taxes to support a country of legal immigrants. I am sorry but the well runs dry when it is used to support illegal immigrants. President Trump said he would do this during the campaign period. Now that he won he has every right to rescind previous executive orders.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 1:42pm

That Congress hasn't fixed this problem is shameful...even when Obama had both houses he did nothing to force it through...

J. S. Roach
Tue, 09/05/2017 - 1:47pm

The executive order by Obama likely was not Constitutional in that it circumvented Congress. One could say, all Trump is doing is allowing Congress to express its will in a Constitutional manner. He has given them six months to do so. I believe that is the way it is supposed to work friends.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 3:34pm

"DACA members also work and pay taxes. You need to get over yourself.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 9:34pm

It would be very interesting to understand what the breakdown of DACA individuals is: Elementary/High School students? College students? Workers? As for paying taxes, my guess is that most fall into the tax category that allows them to pay no tax as their income is too low. Are these students being granted in-state tuition at State colleges? That is really not fair to either the taxpayers of Michigan or American citizens who want to attend Michigan colleges but can not afford the out-of-state tuition.

D Frohm
Tue, 09/05/2017 - 3:03pm

While I certainly sympathize with Mr. Diaz I question if he has tried to apply for citizenship. His parents choose to break the law. If you rob a store, attack someone most likely you will be prosecuted for breaking the law. Those who come here illegally break the law! Unfortunately Mr Diaz has only his parents to blame!

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 3:16pm

Lets not succumb to (Trump) hysterics.
1. Congress has 6 month to fix this. This is where the problem rests. Fortunately the constituency who wants to end DACA is small.
2. If I am not mistaken, even under the new regime only undocumented folks with criminal records are being deported? My view: even if a DACA individual, in case he/she has a criminal record, deport! As an immigrant I have a special obligation to follow the rules in my (guest) country.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 3:41pm

Reading thru the DACA info/ law on line, I see why many haven't applied for citizen status. Very complicated and as always ,navigable by hiring an attorney at the going rate$$$ Even serving in the Army as some with linguistic skills or medical degree were accepted wasn't a citizenship path. No easy task. That surprised me as I knew someone who was in similar family situation. Brought here as boy from Italy, was late teens when WWII began. He served in Navy and after discharge, he and others in similar circumstances were given citizenship..They were willing to die for USA

What I read in DACA law is it gives them legal papers to work and pay taxes. The tax paying citizens aren't supporting them, they wanted to be open and participate. I would like to see an advocate or attorney write an article putting out the time needed, average costs, attorney fees, roadblocks etc involved in the process of becoming a US citizen. I think we'd be very surprised. I'd bet we might have a problem.with the test also.
Personally I hope our congress looks at this and finally make changes to the immigration laws. We've been kicking this around far too long.

Kevin Grand
Tue, 09/05/2017 - 3:54pm

Mr. French,

Is there any reason why the fact that DACA only came about via an unconstitutional E.O. from Pres. B.O. was not mention in this article?

That this is currently being dealt with by the legal system (and the outcome looks even worse that what Pres. Trump has proposed)?

That Congress, those very same people who are charged with writing laws for this country, now have six months to do their job?

J Hendricks
Tue, 09/05/2017 - 6:10pm

It is my understanding that Trump has basically thrown the matter to the US Congress - where it belongs. This is not an issue that is the President's prerogative (despite our previous president who had illusions that he could just wave his hands and solve any problem he felt like.) Side note, recent article in POLITICO noting that US citizens have had to be hired "at higher wages" due to illegals heading out of the country. Maybe no need for a top-down minimum wage if we just follow the laws we have on the books - and if we don't like the laws -
that's what Congress is for!

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 8:50pm

This DACA thing will have a long fuse as it will play out in a congress that refused to act on this matter, leading to President Obama singing a questionable executive order, as well as the courts say on this issue. It is true that we must control illegal immigration But I have a problem with the sins of the parents being visited on their children's heads. So much for our nations claim of compassion.
What about stopping new DACA's and the grandfathering of those already in the program? An imperfect solution to a festering problem that is further dividing our country.

William Berry
Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:09pm

President Trumps action on "DACA" is cruel and a blemish on our country. I try to live my life by the golden rule of "Treating others as I would have them treat me". I hope that congress finds the wisdom and compassion to resolve this in a way that shows the world how great we are as a nation.

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:09pm

Sorry, Wilfredo. ..but you're not about to get deported because AG Sessions announced the end of unconstitutional executive order DACA. You're more likely to get deported because the numbingly ineffective and chicken GOP congress can't do a damn thing they were elected to do. If they can't even repeal Ocare, how can we expect them to reform immigration?
The good news is President Trump left the door open to somehow fixing it even if congress continues its catatonia. ...though I don't know what the Constitution allows him to do about it.
We desperately need RAISE, a wall, and to join all other developed nations except Canada, and eliminate wholesale birthright citizenship.

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:56pm

It seems the question is a choice between the 'rule of law' and emotions.

Should our communities reward the parents for the hardships [putting their children at the hands of human traffickers who we read regularly leave people to die in trucks, deserts, in crossing rivers] they forced their children to endure or follow the rule of law [which has given us liberty]?

Do our communities have limitless resources to supplement illegal immigrants or are there limits which local citizens in need of a helping hand to be left with none?

In the case of the individual who is mentioned in the story, is there a higher threshold of responsibility for the community or is he above the law and deserves special treatment?

I see the immigration laws much like medical triage in an emergency when resources, time, expertise, money are in limited supply. As the medical professionals have to make the harsh decisions about who will receive the care so do our laws determine who will begin resident status and all that entails. Individually and collectively we have limited resources [time, money, knowledge and skills] and if they aren't managed smartly communities will be overwhelmed and take the residents in most need down [see Detroit].
My experience has shown me that the hard choices are best made with little emotion and with attention to the longer-term and the sustainability of the community as a whole.

My greatest concern is that the politics/quest for political power of the situation will prevent a viable solution that is beneficial to the greatest number with disruption to the fewest possible. We have seen this happen to several issues in recent history .