DACA Entrepreneur Still at Risk of Deportation Despite Business Success

September 10, 2018

By Bridgette Webb

It's been a year since President Trump moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA. The program is still afloat, but remains on shaky ground, leaving roughly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants in limbo.

It's an issue that weighs heavy on "Dreamer" Victor Santos, a CEO and co-Founder of Boston-based start-up Airfox.

"Since the Trump administration, it's not quite clear on what will come of DACA in the next few years," Santos said Monday in an interview on Cheddar.

DACA allows certain individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to receive permits to avoid deportation on a two-year, renewable basis and eventually become eligible for a work permit.

Reneging on this policy ultimately precludes these people from contributing to the economy, which could have a big effect on the country, Santos said.

"As an entrepreneur, having Trump cancel the start-up visa and making it harder and harder for H-1B entrepreneurs [to come] into the U.S., it's been an impactful experience for myself, but also for engineers that we bring on from other countries," he said.

"DACA is creating billions in terms of output for the economy, these kids are doctors and entrepreneurs; they are people that considers themselves American."

Airfox, a mobile bank, has 20 employees and provides financial services for emerging industries like mobile microloans to "unbanked" users in Brazil, where interest rates chart upwards of 200 percent.

The immigration debate will inevitably rage on, and may very well head to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Texas, there was a surprise ruling in which a judge kept the DACA program in place, a decision that may undergo federal scrutiny.

The future is further in question as the U.S. awaits confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

The conservative judge, who faced four days of Senate hearings last week, will most likely vote with right-leaning colleagues to squash DACA.

The confirmation process, Santos said, is detracting from the real-life ramifications of killing the program.

"This whole thing is purely political and quite frankly, racist, to say the least," he said.

For full interview click here.