Jorge last saw his daughter Bany in 1998, when he left El Salvador to find work in the United States. His wife Silvia followed him a few years later, leaving Bany with Jorge’s parents until they could afford to bring her to their new home in Northern California. “The cost of coyotes started to get more and more expensive and we started hearing of cases of girls getting raped or killed,” Jorge recalled. “We just didn’t want to risk it.” Bany was one when he left; she is now 21 years old. “I haven’t spent a Father’s Day with her, or even a single Christmas together,” he said. “I have never felt a hug from her.”
It's not always on their minds. But there are moments when it rushes to the forefront. Lizette was at school working on homework when a boy in her class jokingly said he'd call immigration on her and her family. Maria was excitedly talking to her father about the internship program at her new high school, when he told her to be careful, because they would probably ask for a Social Security number when she applied.
On a recent Saturday, as picnickers and sun worshippers relaxed in San Francisco’s Dolores Park, 200 people spent the afternoon across the street in the cafeteria of Mission High School, trying to extend their status as recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The free legal consultation was the last city-sponsored workshop before the October 5 deadline for DACA renewal applications to be received by the Department of Homeland Security.