Ten Virginia DREAMers walked 70 miles from Charlottesville to Richmond last week to bring attention to the threats facing immigrants since Trump was inaugurated.
“We can’t sit quietly anymore,” said Jacky Cortes, one of the organizers. “We can’t allow the political environment to drive us to fear and the shadows. Now is the time to take action.”
Jacky and other DREAMers are worried about losing their livelihoods as Donald Trump threatens to revoke programs instituted by the Obama Administration that protect some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation.
Who are the DREAMers?
DREAMers are young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. They came of age in a country that didn’t offer them a path to citizenship, driver licenses, authorization to work or affordable higher education. The Obama administration implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, providing some relief. DACA allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to gain a renewable two-year long reprieve from deportation, eligibility for a work permit and access to higher education.
“DACA saved my life,” said Lizzette Arias, one of the DREAMers who walked from Charlottesville to Richmond. “All through high school, I felt like I didn’t belong. With DACA, I feel like an American.”
A Dream Deferred
Since 2012, 800,000 young Americans received DACA and were able to fulfill their dreams of getting jobs, going to college and driving cars. During his campaign, Trump promised to get rid of DACA but eased off his pledge once he arrived in the Oval Office. Now, Trump has to make a decision on the program’s fate as ten states have threatened to challenge DACA in court. News sources are speculating that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fiercely anti-immigrant as a politician, will decline to defend DACA.
The fate of nearly one million DREAMers hangs in the balance. These are people that go to school with your children. These people are your neighbors that contribute to making your community vibrant. These people are the future of our country.
Stand with them and call the White House to demand that DACA remain to protect young Americans. Call now 202-456-1111.