3 Months Ago, Donald Trump Threw Vincent’s Life Into Chaos. This Is His Story.

“I celebrate July 4th just like anybody else, right?”

Al Kamalizad/Mother Jones

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

It’s been a tumultuous year for Vincent Ronquillo, 33. For the last five years, Ronquillo, like 800,000 other previously undocumented immigrants, has been protected from deportation thanks to the Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. But in September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the program—exactly what Ronquillo was afraid would happen when Trump took office.

Finding a permanent replacement for DACA has been a hotly contested political issue ever since. President Trump gave Congress until March 2018 to come up with a solution. But sensing that passing a standalone bill by then was unlikely, Democrats have been threatening to hold the federal budget bill hostage unless provisions for DACA are included. The budget needs to pass by the end of this week in order to avoid a partial government shutdown. (Trump has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Thursday to hammer out a plan.)

Ronquillo is watching closely. I first met him while covering a protest in November 2016. He has lived in California since he was 7 years old, balancing work, family, and the strains of being in legal limbo. I wanted to know what it’s like to live like this, so we’ve kept in closer touch over the last few months through in-person interviews, home videos, and emailed voice-memos.

What does he think of the continued squabbles over his right to call himself an American? “They’re playing with our lives,” he says. As I listened to him drop references to Power Rangers, Thanksgiving, and his small business, Vincent’s life struck me as routinely American—with the notable exception that it all might be ripped out from under him.

For the full experience, head over to Mother Jones on Instagram, and keep following to see how things progress for Ronquillo as the deadline for Congress to decide his fate approaches.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate