I emigrated from Mexico to the United States when I was 19 years old, a dream I held since I was a little boy. In my American dream, I became an engineer, got married, had children, and opened a successful business that provided other immigrants with opportunities to reach their American dream.
President Trump’s recent repeal of DACA, an immigration policy that allows minors brought into the U.S. by their parents to stay without fear of arrest, goes against the essence of what makes America great: providing all people with the opportunity to develop and enrich this country. Immigrants make America great through their cultures, languages and new perspectives art. They create new businesses, NGOs and non-profit organizations that grow the economy and local communities.
The young people sheltered from prosecution under DACA are called “Dreamers” — not only because they dream of living in the U.S., but also because they are poised to make significant contributions to the American Dream! These Dreamers are soldiers, nurses, doctors, gardeners, teachers, farm workers, landscapers, lawyers, business professionals, entrepreneurs and more.
I work with Dreamers. I employ them. I see them enrich my community day in and day out. When my kids were young, I coached their soccer teams, and they played with Dreamers—some of whom did not even have birth certificates from either their birth country or the U.S. I negotiated on their behalf so soccer leagues would accept these Dreamers. I worked with their parents so these children could fully participate in all team activities, even if their parents could not speak English well or afford for their children to play.
These young people already have enormous handicaps. Many of their parents do not speak English well and therefore cannot help with homework or provide access to extra-curricular activities that so many of us take for granted for our children. In the face of all that, Dreamers have persevered to pursue their American Dream of a better life. With President Trump’s repeal, they live fear of deportation once again. How cruel and counterproductive.
If any immigrants are poised to make strong contributions, the Dreamers are it. They have been here for most of their lives, they are young and strong, and they have demonstrated a deep sense of belonging. The Dreamers are Americans! This is the only country they have ever known and the only one they want to live in, fight for and contribute to.
Both in my personal life and at Avantpage, we will continue to support and fight for the dreamers.
To learn more about organizations that are helping immigrants achieve their American dream, click here.