As a legal immigrant who arrived to the United States at age 12, I can completely say that the process of coming to the U.S. is overwhelming, emotional and stressful. However, I’m here today in this land of “opportunities” thanks to the sacrifices that my wonderful grandmother made — she managed to bring her two daughters and two sons to the United States along with their kids. The immigration process lasted ten years, and the amount of money and time she spent is uncountable.
In my case, my father never asked me if I wanted to come to the United States; he just brought me with him. I didn’t have a choice. Like me, many DACA recipients did not have a choice, and many of the Dreamers didn’t even know how to talk by the time their parents crossed the border.
Therefore, I believe Dreamers aren’t at fault for being here illegally.
On Jan. 31, Jimmy Kimmel Live aired a segment showing DACA opponents meeting with a dreamer named Esmeralda. She was two years old when her parents crossed the Mexico and U.S border illegally. She has a job, goes to nursing school and pays her taxes — yet she may still face deportation if both political parties don’t come up with a plan for the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients.
Even after hearing Esmeralda’s story and perseverance, opponents still said she should be deported. The opponent — the majority strong, conservative republicans — met Esmeralda’s fiancé Michael, who is serving the country as an active duty of the military. He is being deployed soon over seas, and will have to worry about his fiancé being deported to Mexico.
Unfortunately, the conservative opponents remained steadfast in their opinions.
However, the reality is that most Dreamers are hardworking taxpayers and productive members of society — just like Esmeralda. People in general are so closed-minded when it comes to immigration. I understand that the law is the law, and it should not be broken. But what happens when the “law” can ultimately destroy hundreds of thousands of families and their future?
Dreamers are fathers, mothers, college students, and hardworking people. They will be forced to exit the country that they thought they were part of.
I’m not in favor of illegal immigration, but I do support the Dreamers. But you may think, “Oh, she’s contradicting herself;” however, this isn’t true at all. I’m not in favor of illegal immigration because laws are meant to be followed. However, deporting DACA recipients is unlawful, because they are people who went to school in the United States and probably aren’t fluent in their parents’ language. Most importantly, they aren’t gang members or drug dealers; they’re teachers, nurses and hardworking people.
How do I know DACA recipients aren’t bad people? Because they go through an extensive background check, and those convicted of either a felony or a minor misdemeanor are not eligible to file for DACA.
“You should go back to your country and come back legally,” has become a common mindset of Dreamer opponents. There’s no compassion; this country has become cruel.