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DACA Program removal hits close to home in the Texas Panhandle

Julio Salazar, whose DACA status expires in June of 2019, is an Amarillo resident and a Dreamer. (KVII)

"I'm American, in my heart, I'm American. I've been to Mexico once, and I don't even remember it. My English is a lot better than my Spanish." These are the words of Amarillo DACA recipient, Julio Salazar, whose status expires in June of 2019.

These are just a few of the many things Salazar said when opening up to FaceBook Users, in a nearly 6-minute video he posted in response to the Trump Administration decision to end DACA.

"I wanted to kind of explain what DACA was," Salazar said. "A lot of people just don't really know what the program did, [and] it benefits people that are in my shoes," he said.

Those who qualify for DACA are under 31 years old as of June of 2012, came to the U.S. before the were 16 years old, and have continuously lived in the U.S. from June 2007 to present date.

"In essence they get a temporary legal status here, [and] they're able to get a work permit so they can work," Amarillo Immigration Attorney, Joe Lovell said. "They become documented."

Now, however, those who meet DACA criteria who were once sheltered, may have limited time in the U.S.

"It's a ticking time bomb," Salazar said. "You don't really know what's going to happen, you just got to wait and see."

Lovell says recipients have until October 5th to renew their status for another two years, but some still feel helpless.

"It's just scary to have to plan out your life just in case you can't live in your home," Salazar said.

Immigration experts say there are nearly 800,000 DACA recipients in the U.S. And Amarillo Immigration experts tell ABC 7 there are 120,000--or 15 percent--in the Panhandle alone.

"We just need to look at the situation, from both sides," Salazar said.

"To me, he's really trying to put the burden back where the burden should've been to begin with, which is to Congress and Senate, making laws that allow for a path toward citizenship, rather than a stop-gap measure," Citizen, Joshua Bruce said.

"I don't want to get deported, this is my home," Salazar said. "This is where my life is."

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