I am one of those 703,890 DACA recipients. I am a Dreamer. I am an immigrant. It has made me the person I am today.
I left Guatemala when I was seven. I remember very little from our life back in Guatemala. We were doing well, but my parents wanted to try to find the American Dream. We were blessed to have qualified for a visa as a family, which is how our journey started. I had no idea what was happening as I was boarding that plane in June of 2000. I only knew that we were going to the USA where they spoke mainly English. I remember arriving here in Georgia, and thinking we were on a vacation but that expectation came to an end when we were enrolled in school. We came to a small town where Spanish was not commonly spoken, so learning English was necessary. I never really experienced racism growing up, everyone was so nice and thought it was so cool that I was born in a different country. By the age of ten, I was fluent in both English and Spanish.
I can go on and on how amazing my childhood was but let’s fast forward to 2012: senior year of high school. I knew I was undocumented but didn’t think of myself any less American than someone who was documented. I knew that I was not able to get my driver’s license but I was terrified of driving so I did not really mind. I knew I wasn’t able to go to college once I graduated and that was the hardest reality I had to accept. You see, I didn’t choose to move here at age seven but you bet if I had the chance to choose this future for myself I wouldn’t think twice of doing so. I am so thankful every day for the parents that I have that literally left everything so I can be the person I am today. I clearly remember the day of June 15, 2012, when Obama announced DACA. I was in a retreat with all my friends when the news came out. See by this time I was already planning on saying goodbye to my whole world in the States because I wanted to be someone, have a career, so I was getting ready to go back to Guatemala. You bet I cried like a baby that day because I didn’t have to say goodbye anymore. I was going to be able to stay here in the place that I knew best, in the place I call home.
Now to 2018: I am here to say as a DACA recipient I have been knocking on doors and taking advantage of all the opportunities given to me to the max. I am now a full-time employee and a student working towards my bachelor’s degree and my Pastoral Theology three-year certification. I love giving back to my community by volunteering through my parish.
However, there’s also been an arise of negativity in our communities about immigrants, race, the language you speak, and so on. The language being spoken is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable that I feel judged just for not being born on American soil, it’s unacceptable to feel like I don’t fit in the American culture because I’m undocumented and I don’t fit with my Hispanic culture because I have been raised in the States. I’m one of those people that they tell to go back home. I’m one of those people when they insult immigrants. I’m one of those people whom our current administration categorizes as dangerous to our society. I’m one of those people they say we don’t work hard enough and we just want things to be handed to us.
I believe we are where we are now for a purpose. A purpose that you or I may not understand and it quite doesn’t make sense but God’s plans are perfect! And that’s how I feel about my current immigration status, I don’t understand it but God has plans and I know He will not leave my side!
Throughout my experiences, no matter how difficult things have been, I have learned to appreciate little things, to give others a hand when they are in need, and to be that friend who can sit and listen because I love when someone does that for me when times get hard. Yes, I am a Dreamer, an immigrant. But more importantly, I am a daughter of our Heavenly Father. Being away from home has gained us a new family, a church family, faith-filled individuals who have lead us by example of acceptance and tolerance. I know that no matter what comes next, and even though my future is uncertain, I’ll have people that will be there to show me God’s face among times of desolation.
Rom. 8:28 “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
*** What is DACA (DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS)? DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program expires after two years but it can be renewed. This gives us better opportunities, in regards to education, professional lives, and lives in general, here in the U.S. There’s a $490 fee every time is renewed and background checks to make sure you haven’t been convicted of a felony if so, you are not eligible for DACA anymore.