DACA Recipient Speaks Out About The People That DACA Leaves Behind

"Everything people admire about Dreamers is because of our parents."

As the current administration seemingly moves forward with its previously announced plan to  rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — an Obama-era initiative that has made it possible for nearly 800,000 undocumented children of immigrants to live, work, go to school, or serve in the American military without fear of deportation — we've been hearing a great deal about what it's really like to be an undocumented immigrant in this country.

While some may believe DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants are stealing money, jobs, healthcare, free education and other resources from Americans, countless stories have emerged about an exceptionally hard-working group of people who have sacrificed so much just for the chance at a better life in the country they call home.

A Humans Of New York post from September 20 profiles a self-professed undocumented immigrant who, in addition to detailing the struggles she and her family have faced since they emigrated from Mexico when she was just 8 years old, takes issue with the language often used to describe her and other undocumented young people.



“We were pretty poor back in Mexico. My parents were divorced. Mom did the best she could. She was always a hustler. She’d sell jewelry, or food, or anything that she could. But a lot of nights there still wouldn’t be enough to eat. We’d survive on tortillas and salt. I was only eight when we came to America. So I was too young to understand. I think my mom thought she could make some money and bring us home. She thought she’d learn English, and maybe start a business. But it was so much harder than she expected. We moved so much looking for work. She’s fifty and she still cleans houses every day. Every year she gets more worn down. She’s been getting sick a lot lately. But she can’t afford to stop. She never will. Right now I’m in school. I always thought I had to be the best student because I’m undocumented. I thought I’d go to law school, or graduate school. But now I’m not so sure. My mom would literally destroy her body to make that happen for me. How could I allow that to happen? I’m a Dreamer. And everyone loves the Dreamers because we’re a perfect package to sell. But why am I the only one who gets the chance to feel safe? Whenever I hear ‘I stand with Dreamers,’ I always think about my mom. I’m not willing to throw her under the bus. I'm not willing to be a bargaining chip to make her seem like a criminal. Everything people admire about Dreamers is because of our parents.”

A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on

The unidentified young woman explains how the immigration process was "so much harder" than her mom expected, and added that even now, at 50, her mother is still struggling to survive in America. "Every year she gets more worn down. She's been getting sick a lot lately. But she can't afford to stop. She never will," the young woman explains, noting that she's currently in school and once had aspirations of becoming a lawyer but is now unsure how to proceed even though she knows she has her mother's unwavering support. 

"I'm a Dreamer. And everyone loves the Dreamers because we're a perfect package to sell. But why am I the only one who gets the chance to feel safe?" the young woman asks. "Whenever I hear 'I stand with Dreamers,' I always think about my mom. I'm not willing to throw her under the bus. I'm not willing to be a bargaining chip to make her seem like a criminal. Everything people admire about Dreamers is because of our parents." 

And the young woman makes a valid point. While much has been done to try and safeguard those that were brought to America as young children, there's arguably a much more minimal effort in place to protect their parents.

Even former President Obama, who championed DACA and fought for The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act knew some of his own immigration policies fell short. "It was a legal constraint on our authority, it was not because we did not care about those parents," Obama explained via MSNBC back in 2014 of why his own executive order couldn't protect the mothers and fathers of undocumented children. "And I know that there are a lot of DREAM Act kids who are concerned that their parents may still not qualify."

Though it may be of little consolation to the woman featured in the HONY post, it's clear many Americans support her and her family. The post has received over 327,000 likes and upwards of 6,800 comments in less than 24 hours. "My heart, I would do anything I could to help," one person wrote.

Another added, "Beautifully articulated, I stand with all of you." 

More From A Plus

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.