For years, Denea Joseph knew that her life as a Black woman without legal status in the U.S. was precarious. Born in Belize, the 26-year-old left her home on a visa when she was 7 years old to join her grandmother in South Los Angeles.
When her visa expired, she remained in the U.S. without legal status because she had no real pathway to legal residency. Even after she was granted immigration relief under a 2012 Obama-era policy that allowed her to live and work legally in the United States, Joseph felt the weight of uncertainty.
“I knew an executive order could be changed any day, at any moment,” said Joseph, one of an estimated 700,000 immigrants who are recipients of the Deferred Action for