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Voice of a CI Dreamer

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Many of you may be aware that on September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump decided to end the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. This program was designed to help people, known as Dreamers, who were brought into the United States illegally to attend school and obtain work permits.

I am a Dreamer.

Trump’s decision affected many of us, especially those who are attending schools all over the country, including those who attend our campus.

As a Dreamer, I had a mixture of feelings when I heard the news. At that instant, I began to fear so many things that I personally cannot explain, but I mainly felt upset. I felt sad because DACA has allowed me to see a bright light and an open door, a door that while growing up, I saw as being locked. These doors that were being opened to me were telling me that I could have the same opportunity as any other person and that nothing would define me differently.

But when I heard the news, I felt as if those doors that were opened to me were being locked. DACA has helped me work legally, giving me the opportunity to be able to save up money and help my family economically. Not only has it helped me get a job, but it has granted me the opportunity to receive a higher education, one that my parents couldn’t have.

Trump’s decision involves setting an expiration date on Dreamers’ work permits, giving us the chance to be able to renew them before the October 5 deadline.

Unfortunately, I will not have the opportunity to renew my work permit. The only choice I have is to wait for Congress’s decision.

When DACA was announced, I felt like a door was opening for me, with an opportunity to become somebody in life without a status telling me that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. It gave me a sense of relief knowing that I wasn’t going

to be deported, making me somehow feel secure and protected.

I felt as if I didn’t have to live in fear anymore, that I had the opportunity to receive tuition without any barriers and that I was going to be able to study at a university without having to worry so much about the money necessary to receive my education. I felt I belonged, just like everyone else.

I can honestly say that I didn’t feel angry. I felt like all the opportunities I had before were being taken away from me, like my dreams were about to collapse in an instant and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

I don’t mean to exaggerate, but the feeling of being perceived as different merely because of my immigration status hurt me, mostly because I grew up here. I arrived from Mexico when I was only a year old. I don’t judge my parents because I know they came to the United States to help me attain a brighter future.

This country has been my home. I know that my status may say otherwise, but my heart doesn’t agree. I knew that there would be many obstacles growing up here, but my classmates and I genuinely hope that this situation will get better.

All I would like to express is that we – the Dreamers –  don’t mean to harm anybody. As Dreamers, we are here to study and receive an education. We are here to help our country. We don’t want to take your jobs or make anyone feel as if we are. All we ask for is equality.

Don’t shatter our dreams. Help us keep them alive.

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