Coffee shop owners fear a future without their DACA protections: 'We’ll lose it all'
The Trump administration’s 2017 decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program threw the lives of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants up in the air. Unsure about being able to hold a job in a year’s time—or if they’d even still be in the country—many were forced to reconsider life-changing decisions, like buying a home.
But these young people are also resilient, and after “picking up any odd job” in order to save up for their business, DACA recipients and Floridians Bella Rincon and Steven Gonazalez weren’t about to let Donald Trump stomp on their dreams, and the two went ahead with their plans to open up Southie Coffee, an “homage to their native South America.”
“In the early mornings before and the evenings after her full-time job insurance job, Rincon makes all of the empanadas, muffins, sandwiches and burritos from scratch,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. “After Gonzalez closes the shop at 6 p.m., he begins his second job at Uber Eats to keep him afloat in this first year as a small business owner.”
”Sometimes I look at myself, here in the store, and I’m like, ‘oh my god, this is mine!’ I did this with my business partner. We both put our sweat and tears into it,” Rincon said. But if DACA is ultimately killed by the Supreme Court with no permanent protections put in place, “we’ll lose it all, everything we have worked for,” she added. “Everything is here, and we’d have to go back to a place we don’t even remember. We want to push forward and live our dream.”
It’s important to remember that DACA recipients aren’t just scholars and business owners and doctors, but people deserving of dignity and a chance to stay right here because this is their home. “We consider ourselves American even though the paper work doesn’t say that,’’ Gonzalez added. “It’s all we know.”