photo by Danny Fulgencio

Blanca Castillo is a registered nurse at Dallas Methodist Medical Center, and she was an undocumented immigrant. Texas has about 70,000 fewer nurses than it needs. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Our neighborhood could lose a registered nurse and a community organizer who helps children learn to read in his spare time, among many other upstanding people, if the Trump administration has its way.

The Obama administration’s executive orders on undocumented immigrants benefitted some 200,000 Texans, including many in our neighborhood.

The November Advocate featured two Oak Cliff residents who were granted work permits and amnesty from deportation under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

One is Blanca Castillo, whose mother brought her to the United States following Blanca’s father’s death when she was 6 years old. Castillo completed a nursing degree at Texas Woman’s University on a full academic scholarship. But then she was unable to sit for the exam to become a registered nurse because of her work status, and she had to go back to working a fast-food drive through.

She finally received a work permit after applying for DACA, and now she’s a nurse at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

“I still get excited to tell people I’m a nurse,” Castillo told us in October. “I feel very empowered by where I come from because it’s made me work harder for what I do have, and it’s made me appreciate it more.”


Everardo Amaya’s work and volunteerism help the poorest people in Dallas, but Trump would deport him. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The day Donald Trump was elected president, Castillo was terrified. She said she felt guilty because there are others in worse situations than hers. But she’s already been through so much, and now this.

Trump repeatedly promised during his campaign to end DACA and somehow deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Those who applied for DACA gave their names and addresses to the federal government, so they’d be the easiest to find if Trump does come after immigrants.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are calling on Obama to pardon the so-called “dreamer immigrants,” some 750,000 undocumented immigrants nationwide who were brought to the United States as children. But the Obama White House says only Congress has the power to grant such a pardon.

Castillo’s story is not uncommon in Oak Cliff. We chose two dreamers — the other is Habitat for Humanity program coordinator Everardo Amaya — to feature in our November story because of their high levels of success and their direct contributions to Oak Cliff. But there are many more in their situation, all at risk of losing the lives they’ve worked for.