Local DACA recipients are reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to keep the program in place, at least for now. So-called "dreamers" were brought to the United States by their undocumented family members, and they're protected from deportation under DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. One DACA recipient is 24-year old Allie Rojas of Everett. She spoke with host Arun Rath on WGBH News' All Things Considered on Wednesday. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: So take us to the moment today. What did it feel like? Where were you when you heard about the ruling?

Allie Rojas: [00:00:35] I was home. I found out yesterday the ruling would be happening today. So first thing I did when I woke up was turn on the news. And probably right after I turned it on, five minutes later, there's breaking news that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the DACA recipients, which was immense relief for me. But again, I know the fight is not over. And this is only temporary relief.

Rath: I know there are a lot of observers, given the composition of the Supreme Court right now, who were surprised by the ruling. Were you surprised?

Rojas: I was surprised. I kind of had made up in my mind that if this went bad, I was going to take advantage of the two more years that I have here, get my life together and prepare to go back to Mexico. It was a huge relief. I was surprised and caught off guard. We were preparing for the worst.

Rath: And you say two years because that that that's when your current DACA authorization would expire.

Rojas: Yes. Yes. I recently got it approved for another two years.

Rath: And, you know, in talking about this, we should make clear for people who don't know, DACA doesn't just protect you from from deportation, from being removed from the country. It lets you you work. It lets you go to school, qualify for aid and scholarships. What are the repercussions of this decision for you?

Rojas: Yes, that's correct. DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — gives all recipients a work permit. It does not provide, unfortunately, financial aid, but it does provide some relief from deportation. I have the ability to be able to work and to be able to have some income. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are completely undocumented don't have that privilege. I feel extremely privileged at least being able to work.

Rath: Yeah. And about your background? The United States is the only home you've known, right? How old were you when your family came here?

Rojas: Correct. I was 4 years old when I came to United States. I lived in Georgia and I only moved to Massachusetts, Boston, around seven years ago for school because, as a lot of people know, Georgia is super conservative and I was being charged international student fees. And in Mass., fortunately for me, DACA recipients can qualify for in-state tuition after residing in the state for six months.

Rath: This has been a long road for you and your fellow dreamers. President Trump took office three-and-a-half years ago. Has the last three-and-a- half years had just constant tension about this?

Rojas: Yes, we've been in limbo. We've been waiting for over three years for this decision to come out and again, preparing if it goes bad or not. We've just been preparing for that. And again, a huge sense of relief that, for now, we're safe and we can take this moment to celebrate and be happy for a while and then continue gathering what are the next steps or what? There can be a permanent solution for the rest of us.

Rath: And tell me if I have this wrong, that you have a sister who's also a DACA recipient and two other siblings who were born in the U.S., right?

Rojas: Yes, that's correct. My sister is also a DACA recipient.

Rath: So in addition to having to be forced to to leave the country, it's also the prospect of breaking up your family.

Rojas: Yes. That's a possibility that we were prepared to deal with. And again, it's making sure that we're able to live and provide for ourselves in Mexico, in a country that we don't know. That's kind of where our minds would say, how can we have a a good style of life like this? Maintain, the same style of life that we have here, over there.

Rath: And it's sort of hard to imagine going through a period of years where you also have to, in addition to planning for your life and all the other ways, think about like an exit plan if it comes to that. Do you know other dreamers who have been in that situation and anybody who's actually left the U.S. because of this?

Rojas: Yes, there's several people who just got tired of having a second situation. To having to kind of plan their life around the Supreme Court and the ruling and they've decided: 'No more. Like we have so much worth ourselves and we give so much to this country.' And they got tired of it.

I myself have felt the same way. I want to go to law school. I graduated from UMass Boston last year. I can't be admitted to the Massachusetts bar because it's only 13 or so states that allow [DACA recipients into the bar] in the United States. I would have to move to New York to even be admitted to the bar against planning our life all around this DACA decision because there's no permanent solution for us. And people get tired and they leave. And I don't blame them.

Rath: You know, to the ruling by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts made comments about the ruling that they were not actually ruling on whether or not DACA was lawful or not. They were ruling on, essentially, that the grounds by which the Trump Administration had challenged it were not solid enough; which I imagine leaves the room open for the Trump administration to come back with a better argument. Is that something that leaves you unsettled?

Rojas: That's part of the reason why I am happy and there's this sense of really but I'm not completely full of joy, as I should be because, again, there is an opportunity if Trump does get elected again — or the next administration doesn't plan on doing anything — this could be all taken away again. [Again, we're still stuck in the same place. There's still no permanent solution for us. The language is very vague and it could allow for the administration to, again, try to find another way to terminate it. So that's our huge worry, that the language is not clear. And it's not whether DACA is constitutional or unconstitutional, but the way they ended it.

Rath: Because the only thing that'll really put this to bed is if a law is passed and signed by by the president.

Rojas: Yes. That's the only way that we, DACA recipients, will feel truly relieved. And again, there are goals about the undocumented community who still needs more relief as well. People who didn't qualify for the program. It needs to be expanded further.

Rath: Well, if even though the ruling may be tenuous, are you going to be doing anything to celebrate this decision?

Rojas: Yes, we are. Some of our friends and organizers were currently doing a community healing. People can register at the link: bit.ly/2bj0bcj. Again: bit.ly/2bj0bcj, to register for community healing.

We're gonna be doing this Zoom, virtually, with all undocumented folks to celebrate this and kind of just process the decision, you know, the ups and downs and being in limbo. And at the end, we'll be having an attorney to answer undocumented people's questions about what does this decision mean.

So that's what we're doing to celebrate. Just taking a moment to breathe and relax and take in this good decision. That was unexpected. But, yeah, that's what we're doing to celebrate and then getting together and thinking about what our next stepsare. How can we make this a permanent solution, so no one has to be stuck in limbo again?