Community shows its support for ‘Dreamers’
Maria came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 11.
Today, the 26-year-old is raising two young sons, goes to school and holds down a job.
Yet as a Grand Valley participant in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Maria wonders about her future.
“It’s hard to live in the shadows, or go back to square one,” she said, not wanting to share her last name. “I’m scared because you don’t know what will happen. It’s hard to imagine life somewhere else.”
At least 100 people came out Saturday on the campus of Colorado Mesa University to support fellow “Dreamers” like Maria. President Donald Trump announced earlier this month an end the DACA program by March, instructing Congress to find a legislative solution to the issue.
The waiting has DACA recipients wondering if they could face deportation — back to countries of origin where some have little to no memory of living.
In Colorado, 17,300 young people were included in the 2012 DACA program that allowed undocumented youth renewable two-year periods of deferred action from deportation and the ability to apply for work permits.
On campus Saturday, a number of speakers — in person and speaking for others — relayed personal stories of struggle before being included in the DACA program.
They spoke of all the hard work, family, community and stability they have cherished under DACA.
“I didn’t live a normal life until I got DACA,” said a speaker named Andreya, originally from Peru. “I built my professional network… If that were to be taken away, everything I worked for will fall apart.”
Organizers urged protesters on Saturday to write postcards to Rep. Scott Tipton, who they said has not expressed support for the 2017 Dream Act, co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet.
Event organizers wrote DACA facts in chalk on the university sidewalks so students could read about it while making their rounds to classes.
Adis Fuentes, a 15-year-old sophomore at Fruita Monument High School, said the issue is important for minorities because people tend to lump all Hispanics together.
Fuentes said because of the DACA issue, other students have questioned her citizenship, “because of the color of my skin.” She is a U.S. citizen.
“It’s really hard because they assume things about you,” she said. “I never imagined there being so much hate.”