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

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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 But in September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the program—exactly what Ronquillo was afraid would happen when Trump took office.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.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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