SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Nearly 2,600 miles away from Inauguration Day in Washington, DC, it was just another Wednesday for Rodolfo Barrientos a food truck owner in South Los Angeles.

“I’m here to work. It’s my day off but there is always something the truck needs; so we are going to go get the truck serviced for the fire suppression system,” said Barrientos.

Barrientos owns a food truck called Gracias Señor or "Thank You, God." For years he has been doing his homework in between taco orders to pay for school. He said all of it is thanks to a single document.

What You Need To Know

  • President Biden signed 17 executive orders Wednesday, five relating to immigration

  • The executive orders change ICE arrest priorities, end the Muslim ban and border wall construction, and fortifies DACA

  • President Biden is also introducing a bill that would give undocumented immigrants an eight-year pathway to citizenship

“DACA was a starting point, and this is what I’ve done. I’ve been able to start my own business. I’m about to finish my bachelor’s degree at Cal State L.A. This is my last semester,” said Barrientos.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been his saving grace after being brought to the US illegally when he was nine. And under President Trump the program almost came to an end.

“It was very traumatizing,” said Barrientos.

But DACA’s restrictions have also left his hands-tied, the impact of that recently hit home for him when a family member in Mexico got sick.

“Right now I have a grandpa that we think he might have COVID. I can’t go visit him, you know that’s something that breaks my heart. It’s horrible, it’s horrible not being able to do that. Not having the freedom to do something as simple as visiting a loved one because of a paper that says you can’t,” said Barrientos.

Food truck owners, cooks, and cleaners, fell silent in front of a market TV as President Biden took his oath of office. Pausing their work just long enough to see change on the horizon.  

“I’m feeling hopeful, anxious kind of, to know what Biden’s gonna do,” said Barrientos.

Hours later President Biden signed an executive order fortifying DACA and calling on Congress to grant dreamers a pathway to citizenship.

He also changed ICE arrest priorities, ended the Muslim Ban and border wall construction. Biden is also introducing a bill that would give undocumented immigrants an eight-year pathway to citizenship, providing aid to Central America, and increasing border security.

But not everyone is happy with the changes, and the bill could face an uphill battle in the senate to overcome a filibuster. Congressional republicans think the bill doesn’t go far enough in terms of border security and could unleash a wave of illegal immigration to the US.  

But Barrientos disagrees, he said what it would unleash is their full potential.

“So all of these things I’ve been able to do with a document, that allows me to be a functional member of society. Imagine what pathway to citizenship could do for all of us, all the dreamers, all the immigrants,” said Barrientos.

Because he said, he has so much more left to contribute to his family, his community, and this country. He just needs to be given the chance.