Omar Bustamante/FUSION

This is the second of a three-part series examining Obama's legacy on his cornerstone policy achievements.

President Obama has been praised for his 2012 executive action protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation. In the years since he signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order, close to 750,000 people have found temporary relief.

But Obama has also deported more people than any other president in history—more than every president of the 20th century combined.

And then there are people caught in the middle. They have benefited from Obama's executive actions and programs, but their family members have not. Because these protections remain incomplete, deportation could still separate them.

These are the stories of two people living on both sides of that divide, as told to Fusion.


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Guadalupe Ambrosio, 24, was born in Mexico City and raised in the Bronx. She was granted DACA but still lives in fear that her parents will be deported.


I was working as a hostess at a New York restaurant in 2012 when President Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The restaurant staff, which included many other undocumented immigrants, and I watched as the president outlined eligibility for the program that offers undocumented young people extended protections from deportation and the ability to work in the U.S.

As we heard Obama announce the criteria to be eligible for DACA I quickly realized that out of the entire staff, I was the only one that was eligible. It was because I was the youngest one there.

I also realized my parents were not eligible for DACA. I have two siblings who are U.S. citizens, but my parents and I entered the country without inspection.


I know DACA is a temporary solution. It’s allowed me to work, but I’ve always waited for the day the program will be taken away. And I’ve always feared deportation for my parents.

I can’t fall asleep until my dad is home. I’m always scared that something is going happen to him. Every night that he comes home is a day that we survived not getting deported.


When Trump got elected, people were saying they were scared. But I’ve been living in fear for years.

It was my dad who encouraged me to apply for DACA. I feel like he was really trying to save my life. I attempted suicide three times before my 18th birthday, largely due issues surrounding my immigration status and the opportunities available to me.

A lot of immigrants know they could be deported any day, but in the meantime we live in fear and need other resources to survive, like access to healthcare, housing ,school and trust worthy attorneys and programs that help pay bonds without the ankle monitors.


I work with a lot of families who go through this pain. I’m a community organizer with the New York State Youth Leadership Council, an undocumented youth-led organization.

Still, I’m thankful to have lived in a time when I saw a black man and black woman live in the White House. I’ve always gravitated more towards First Lady Michelle Obama, especially after the speech she delivered at City College of New York.

“I wake up in a house that was built by slaves,” Obama said at the June 2016 graduation speech. I remember crying a lot after hearing those words.


I could never say that I’m proud of having lived through this presidency because I saw so many families in my community separated by deportation. I’m grateful that DACA opened my eyes to the power of organizing. I’m empowered by how much we mobilized these last 8 years and I hope it doesn’t stop.

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Chelo Silva, 38, fled Puebla, Mexico in his twenties after being targeted because he is a transgender man. He won asylum in the U.S., but his wife is currently fighting deportation orders.


I was very scared when my attorneys submitted the application for asylum in 2015. I was being held in an immigration detention center, and I knew I could easily be deported if I lost my case. So when I finally got the answer and heard that I could stay in the U.S. it was a big relief.

I was in shock. I started crying tears of joy. It was a lot to accept because I suffered a lot as a trans man in Puebla. I know that God had something to do with me winning my asylum.

But that joy was short lived because now my wife is facing deportation. I fled to the United States in my early twenties because I wanted to be more free. I walked across the desert to get here. Then I met my wife in New Jersey. We fell in love while working at a warehouse packing books. Now I fear that I may be able to stay here but she’ll be deported.


I can’t say President Obama was an excellent president, but he has done a lot of good things. He has supported many immigrants by offering DACA and has helped a lot of low-income people with programs like Obamacare. But the Obama administration has also deported more people than any other presidency in the history of the United States.

Many people live in fear of immigration raids or immigration officials showing up at your doorstep. Many families have been separated. I’ve been granted asylum, but I still worry that things could change any moment now.  My lawyers did an amazing job, but now my wife, who was born in the Dominican Republic, is facing deportation.

The fear that I lived with under Obama I will continue to live under Trump because he may change things.


When I was in detention I learned about an organization that helped LGBTQ immigrants. I’m now turning my fear and anger into action by being part of the board at the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. A group called Immigration Equality also led my legal case. I didn’t even know there were community groups that helped people like me, LGBTQ immigrants. Now I’m fighting for the rights of other immigrants, including my wife. And I’m starting school this week and hope that with more English, I’ll be able to find more solutions for our movement.