Fredi Alcazar Dominguez shouted and cried with joy this week when he received the letter saying he had been granted a special reprieve from deportation.
Dominguez, whose difficult story was featured this month in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Personal Journeys series, has been accepted into the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The south Cobb County resident may now legally remain and work in the U.S. for two years and apply for a two-year renewal of his deportation deferral.
People like Dominguez, who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children, who attended school here and who have not been convicted of felonies, are eligible for the program. Since the government announced the initiative in 2012, 16,302 people in Georgia have been accepted. Nationwide, 521,815 have been accepted.
In 2009 — on the day of his senior prom at Pebblebrook High School — Dominguez was arrested after a minor traffic accident. The government detained him for nearly two months before deporting him to Mexico, a country he hardly knows. Dominguez risked his life to return, floating on a raft across the Rio Grande and then riding atop of a truck from Laredo, Texas, to New Orleans.
He was arrested a second time for a traffic offense in 2012 and faced deportation again until family, friends and his attorney rallied around him and pressured the authorities for his release. The government freed him with requirements that he routinely check in with federal immigration officials. He applied for deferred action last year.
Now 24, Dominguez lives with his mother and siblings near Pebblebrook. He is saving money to go to college, where he wants to study to become a social worker. Meanwhile, he is hoping Congress will create a path to legal status for people like him.
“It was all worth it,” Dominguez said of his efforts to stay in the U.S. “Thank God, I finally got (the reprieve) and I am able to stay.”
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