For more than a decade, young immigrants who came to this country as children have been fighting for our place in the country that we call home. In June of 2012, we celebrated the creation of DACA, a program that allowed us to live, work, and more fully and freely contribute to our families and communities. That day marked the first time in many of our lives that we weren’t living under the threat of deportation: the first time we could see a path for us to work legally, to further our education, and pursue our dreams in the country we call home. It was a moment paved by the blood, sweat, and tears of thousands of immigrant advocates who fought for us to have these basic protections. We are so thankful for those who made these dreams possible, and the fact that DACA is still here, and that we are still able to live and work across the country is a testament to the strength and power of this movement. It is a reflection of the incredible bravery and dedication of thousands of immigrants, allies, lawyers and others impacted by immigration.
The Supreme Court began to hear oral arguments [on November 12] to decide whether DACA, and the protections that have allowed us to thrive these seven years, will continue to exist. It represents a crossroads in this long and difficult journey; a decision that comes with immeasurable consequences for our lives, and the millions of our families, friends, co-workers, and communities. As we stand here in celebration of DACA recipients and their families, we know this struggle is not over, and no matter the result, we will continue to fight for our place in the country we call home.
DACA was never a perfect solution, but it has allowed us to live our lives, to pursue our dreams, to build families, and to contribute to our communities. It gave us a chance, and with it, we have shown yet again what immigrants can do when given the opportunity to contribute. We are just a small portion of the millions of immigrants across this country who are being held back by a system that is keeping so many of our family members, friends, and colleagues from achieving their full potential. For decades, lawmakers in Washington have been unable or unwilling to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system. As a result, millions of people living and working as our neighbors, raising their children in our communities, and filling the congregations of our churches have no opportunity to get in line and earn a chance at citizenship. It must be fixed.
Many people across the country have come to know and sympathize with the plight of so called “Dreamers,” but the reality is that our lives have been built on the shoulders of the millions who came before us, and their dreams are no less powerful or deserving than ours. The dreams of the undocumented farm worker who toiled in the fields so his daughter could study to be a teacher. The dreams of the housekeeper with Temporary Protected Status who cleaned hotel rooms for 20 years and helped send her son to law school. The dreams of the aunt who fell out of status after losing a job, but who still worked two shifts a day in a meat processing plant so her niece could study to become a doctor.
As we stand before the highest court in the land, we do so on behalf of not only the 700,000 DACA recipients who are protected by this program, but in solidarity with, and on behalf of, the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants across the country who have made our stories possible. Because we are all Dreamers, and we know that our home is here.
FWD.org DREAMERS : Samuel Cervantes, Research Associate, Hometown,Houston; Daniela Chomba, D.C. Office Manager, People & Operations Associate, Hometown, Newark, New Jersey; Pamela Chomba, Director of State Immigration Campaigns, Hometown, Newark, New Jersey; Leezia Dhalla, Immigration Press Director, Hometown, San Antonio, TX; Juan Escalante, Digital Campaigns Manager, Hometown, Miramar, Florida; Luis Espino, Technology Associate, Hometown, Napa Valley, California; Paco Juarez, Information Systems Associate, Hometown, West Valley City, Utah; Marissa Molina, Colorado State Immigration Manager, Hometown, Denver, Colorado; Maria Praeli, Government Relatiosn Manager, Hometown, New Milford, Connecticut; Jaime Rangel, Georgia State Immigration Associate, Hometown, Dalton, Georgia.
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