Itzel Guillen Maganda learned the news by text — sent by a friend. But just to make sure, she checked her email.
“I had prepared for the worst, just being aware of who the Supreme Court justices are,” she said Thursday. “I had a feeling that it would go one way.”
Guillen, 26, isn’t your typical “Dreamer” beneficiary of rules that allow undocumented aliens who arrived as children to be spared deportation.
Last year, she was featured in a chapter of “Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear.
The authors, Washington reporters for The New York Times, chose Guillen’s story to depict what they called “the real-world consequences of DACA’s demise” in 2017.
Chapter 16 on Guillen — pages 187-190 — was titled “Life in two-year increments.”
It noted a terrifying moment when police stopped her undocumented mother (who followed her to America later) after mistakenly blowing through a stop sign.
Lacking a driver’s license, Guillen’s mother exchanged horrified looks with her daughter, the book said.
“If I have to go, we go together,” the book quoted her mother as saying. “Guillen nodded silently, then texted her brother to say they might never see him again.”
But the officer didn’t ask for license or ID. He just gave them a warning. “They were free to go,” the book said.
On Thursday, Guillen said she spoke to her mother and brother on the phone in the wake of the 5-4 court decision.
“So he is definitely feeling relieved as well,” she said in a phone interview. “But with caution. We have to hear more information on how this would develop.”
Davis interviewed Guillen in early April 2019 after the author contacted Alliance San Diego through the Southern Border Communities Coalition.
At the time, Guillen was Alliance’s immigrant integration manager. She now is 2020 census projects specialist for Building Skills Partnership, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles. (She works from home in San Diego.)
The chapter Guillen was featured in contained an error, though — saying her brother was not covered by DACA. In fact, he was. Publishers Simon and Schuster and the authors didn’t respond to queries about a correction when contacted last October, when the book came out.
Guillen is looking forward, however.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, she planned to attend a rally celebrating the DACA decision. Alliance San Diego, the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium and San Diego Border Dreamers were organizers of a “Rally for Justice Everywhere” at the downtown County Administration Building.
She won’t be a speaker, though.
Chapter 16 of “Border Wars” told of how Guillen spoke at a 2017 Waterfront Park rally she helped organize shortly after Trump’s termination of DACA.
“It was only after she stepped down from the stage and hugged a colleague … that Guillen broke down in tears,” the book said. “She was back living in fear for her future.”
On Thursday, she said she had been reflecting all day about what the court decision means.
“I am a little nervous about what’s to come,” she said, “because the program is still in some form of uncertainty.”
But she’s certain what she wants to do: pursue an advanced degree beyond her 2017 San Diego State University bachelor’s degree in political science and minor in anthropology.
“I’m looking at different programs in public administration, nonprofit management, … anthropology,” she told Times of San Diego. She’s considering returning to San Diego State, but also looking at programs at University of San Diego and UC Irvine.
“I have not applied,” she said.