DACA Ends, Hope Begins
Louis Frias kneels with his dog. The UCO senior was a member of DACA in the United States, which he attributes partly to his success (provided/ Louis Frias).
University of Central Oklahoma Senior Louis Frias was a member of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as a child and wanted others to know what DACA has allowed him to achieve.
“It’s been a really long road and a demanding road,” said Frias. “And this negative stigma that has been tagged to immigrants in general; we are people that can contribute to this society and we deserve a shot at the American dream.”
The ending of DACA is expected to affect 800,000 members, and UCO is home to many students who were signed up at a very young age.
“The purpose of my story is so that it will make the situation a bit more personal for people,” said Frias. “And that people will see that we are not just statistics, that there are many more like me.”
Frias works three different jobs while enrolled at UCO as a bio-medical sciences student, a field he believes that he can do to help others.
“I go to school in the morning, rush to my first job at Mercy, work through the afternoon, and when I get off work there, I go to my second job,” said Frias. “Whenever I have a bit of extra time, I work outside scrubbing concrete as job number three.”
“I started at UCO in 2013 and I knew from the beginning that I would have to work my way through college,” said Frias. “Although it has been incredibly difficult having to juggle school and work, I have been lucky enough to receive Dean’s Honor Roll and am a part of multiple Honor
At one point, he said he decided to take a break from school so that he could earn more to pay for the following semester.
“Things just started getting a little tighter,” said Frias. “I wasn’t able to focus on school as much because I was having to work so much. Of course, after that I had to take more jobs, so I started to work at a home-care business and do a lot of house cleaning work for them.”
Frias was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. When he was 4 years old, his family moved to Texas for a better life.
“It’s just me, my brother, and my two parents,” said Frias. “It’s pretty hard to think that my parents gave up so much for my brother and I. We decided to move to Oklahoma because we weren’t really comfortable in Texas, the area we were living was a really rough area.”
DACA was passed just before Frias graduated from Deer Creek High School. This gave him the opportunity to apply to UCO, but was ineligible for federal financial aid.
“I had no hope of attending college before DACA because of the out-of-state tuition,” said Frias. “I am graduating in December and I love the career that I’m getting into.”
Frias said he wants others to know that there are a lot of people who care about those who are affected.
“There are a lot of great people out there who are behind us and support us, said Frias. “I think people should be at ease as far as the situation.”