TYLER - The government shutdown might be over, but more than 700,000 immigrants under the DACA program could be deported. Without the program, legally they would no longer be allowed to stay in the United States.
Ricardo Rodriguez moved to the U.S. from Mexico when he was five. He's been receiving help from DACA since he was 17. Five years later, and now starting a family, he is still hoping for a chance at citizenship.
"That's what I think we're asking for at the bare minimum, a path to residency, which would obviously protect us from deportation," he said.
Growing up in East Texas, he met his wife Marcie in high school in marching band. Marcie his an American citizen, and she often worries about how much longer he'll be able to stay with her -- knowing his time in the U.S. could be limited.
"I follow the rules. I'm a rule follower," he said. "For me to be punished at the age of five, which is when I moved here without a choice, it's unfair to me."
He used his DACA benefits to work his way through college at UT Tyler, receiving a degree in music. He is now a band teacher in Jacksonville.
Immigrants like Rodriguez were able to qualify for DACA in July of 2012.
That is when President Barack Obama announced he was signing an executive order. That allowed some immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as minors to stay, and allowed them to work or go to shool on two year renewable permits.
"I've been here since I was 5. That's 17 years, and to be asked to leave, and go to my country that I have no idea anything about, I'm going to be heartbroken," he said.
For now, Rodriguez said it's a waiting game.
The current spending deal ends on February 8. Until then, Democrats are working to keep DACA in place.
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