First of a series about DREAMers entrepreneurs.
Carla Chavarria is yawning while she types on her laptop. She has been working around the clock to keep up delivering projects for her clients. “I work hard for all of them”, she says.
Slim and strong, Carla is an avid Olympic weight lifting enthusiast that lifts more than her weight at the gym just for fun and fitness.
She is a DACA recipient founder of YCM/Ocho, a graphic design, and marketing agency with a millennial point of view and co-founder of another venture, Ganaz Apparel, a fitness clothing line along with her friend Maxima Guerrero.
Carla was doing graphic design work for clients as an undocumented immigrant before June 15, 2012, when President Obama announced the creation of the DACA program. That same year, she filed for the creation of her business.
You can see a video of Carla and her passion for art, graphic design, and marketing, here.
As all undocumented youth, Carla is sad President Trump is phasing off DACA but she does not need the work permit, a document called Employment Authorization Document (EAD) because she is her own boss.
“…unless Trump says I want to deport Carla… my business will go on”.
“I feel (DACA ending) affects me because I see people around me (being worried and sad), but I have not used the work permit for a lot of things”, says Carla.
Then she reflects:
“It affects me because I think: what if the government wants to use the information I gave them to look for me and deport me?”
Carla is one of the increasing numbers of immigrant and young immigrant entrepreneurs and business owners.
A 2016 survey found that 6 percent of DACA recipients surveyed are business owners. This rate of business creation is higher than that of both the American public as a whole—at 3.1 percent—and the entire immigrant population—at 3.6 percent. The businesses created by young immigrants include tech startups, online craft stores, photography, graphic design services, tax preparation services, among others.
Carla is also creating jobs. She manages a handful of contractors or freelancers, half of them also DACA recipients.
What does Carla do with her EAD? I have it in a folder with all the DACA documents. I use it once to buy a house, she says with pride.
Carla is just 24 years old.
YCM is an agency that serves around 80 clients, many of them recurring and she is a local celebrity, celebrated with recognitions and awards.
What is going to happen after DACA (potentially) is phased off? The business will go on, “unless Trump says I want to deport Carla. Unless that happens, my business will go on”.