EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) --Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca was only 4 years old when she crossed the U.S. border. She has lived on the Peninsula all this time undocumented.
Salamanca understands what motivates waves of children, some of them no older than she was, to risk crossing the U.S. border in search of a better life.
"It's so brave of them to make that journey, and it's so difficult back on our countries that they have to risk their lives being so young, and they see that there's no future in their countries, so they come where they know that there could be hope, and that's here in the United States," Salamanca said.
It was only two years ago that Salamanca filled out a form for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program. It allowed her to go to school, to work, to get a driver's license, and to put off any effort to deport her.
It's now time for Salamanca and half a million others to file for renewals.
President Barack Obama invited Salamanca last month to appear on a White House panel to talk about the impact of DACA.
Salamanca currently goes to school, studying environmental science and technology and runs a website to publicize scholarship opportunities for young people. But she told Obama the $465 renewal fee was just too high.
"Having school and other bills and then, on top of that, a $465 fee that just comes out of the blue, that's like either half of somebody's rent," Salamanca said.
DACA applicants also face uncertainty whether the program will continue once Obama leaves office.
"I tell people that you never know what the future brings," said Mariam Kelly, an attorney at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto. "But for right now and for the last two years, you've been able to work lawfully, you've been able to be protected from deportation, and any future risks, they might happen, but it's so worth it to have this program now and to be able to enjoy the benefits."