The fate of the deferred action for childhood arrivals program could be decided this week by the U.S. Supreme Court and that could determine the future for thousands of dreamers living in the United States.

"Everybody's situation is very different," said Rey Mendez, a DACA recipient who lives on Staten Island, "but nobody knows what will happen."

What You Need To Know

  • The future of the DACA program is on the line.

  • A Supreme Court ruling could put in jeopardy the work status of thousands of DACA recipients

  • The court is weighing in on a thorny immigration issue amid a societal reckoning over racial discrimination.

The DACA program established by President Obama provided some legal status to dreamers like Mendez who arrived as undocumented immigrants as children. Mendez has lived here since he was 2. He is about turn 23 and is working for the Census in an effort to reach hard-to-find residents. He ultimately wants to become a social worker. 

"Growing up I saw a lot of injustices within a family structure, injustices in the community," Mendez said. "I saw that there's a need for a certain type of skill set."

A ruling could have wide-ranging impacts on DACA recipients, including their ability to find work or drive a car. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it remains to be seen if New York would step in. 

"We have to see what the court says, but if there's any crack or light for state action, then we will take it," Cuomo said on Wednesday. 

The court would be wading in on the thorny issue of immigration, a hot-button topic that President Trump rode to office on in 2016.

At the same time, the crosscurrents of the current political climate -- a societal reckoning surrounding racial discrimination -- could also weigh heavily on the court.

To those who are skeptical of extending full legal status to dreamers, Mendez says this: "Really do consider these are peoples' lives at stake. Peoples' livelihood. There may always be disagreements, but there is compromise."

There are as many as 800,000 people with Dreamer status living in the United States.