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You Have No Idea What DACA Really Is

Early Saturday morning, Jorge Ramos, a well-known Latino journalist, asked DREAMers on Twitter to tweet what could happen to them if President Donald Trump ends Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on September 5th. This was after a group of Republican attorneys threatened to sue Trump if he didn’t remove this program that was started by former president Barack Obama in 2012.

 

“I’m about to graduate college in a year, what am I supposed to do with two degrees and no work permit.”

Is what I tweeted, not thinking too much about it. To my surprise, Ramos retweeted and favorited my tweet, which I was very happy about. My excitement did not last for long, however, because soon my tweet was being retweeted over and over again to the point where it started to reach an anti-DACA audience.

 

“Go back home, make Mexico Great Again.”

This was one of the many comments I read while tears burned my eyes. For the first few comments, I felt the need to reply and set them straight. My fingers were typing as fast as they could as angry tears streamed down my face. Then, I stopped and realized I should not give these people the power to hurt me. They don’t know what DACA is, and most of them only hate it because Obama started it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen or heard such ignorant comments from people who do not know what DACA is or what it does. DACA gives people like me the chance to legally work, drive and go to school in this country.

 

One person tweeted that DACA gives “illegals” too many benefits, like free education,

which I couldn’t help but dryly laugh at. I couldn’t go to the college I wanted to attend for the first two years, even though I was accepted, because I did not have the money and was not eligible for financial aid- which I still am not to this day. So, no… college is absolutely not free for me. I had to go to a community college for two years while working to save up to be able to attend the University of Connecticut. Thanks to DACA, I was able to save up enough money for the first semester of my junior year. My parents are still working two jobs each while I work mine just so I can finish college. My hope is that I will be able to help my brother finish his college career when I graduate in May, but it doesn’t look good if Trump ends DACA.

 

“If you came here illegally, you should go back home.”

This was another comment that made me clench my fists. For starters, I did not come into this country illegally. My parents brought my brother and I here in 2000 with a 10 year VISA. Once it expired in 2010, I was unprotected for two years until Obama eased my worries in 2012 with DACA, which I have had to renew every two years and pay hundreds of dollars for.

The process to get DACA isn’t easy nor is it free like people believe. I know people who had to keep on applying over and over again because they were getting rejected due to lack of paperwork. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will ask you for everything from background checks to paperwork proving you have been going to school here. When I first applied for DACA, I remember having to run around to so many places just to get all the proper documents and proof that I’ve been here since 2000. We also had to get a lawyer just to make sure we were filling out the forms correctly. It wasn’t a cheap process and it stressed my parents out so much. I can’t imagine how stressful it is for others that lack the resources or money.

Also, to reply to the majority of the comments people left me, I refuse to go back home! Bolivia is a dangerous and corrupt country. I wouldn’t be able to hang out with my friends late at night like I do here without the fear of getting raped or jumped. The second someone finds out you’re visiting from the states they will come after you and the goods and money they think you brought along. And yes, I am from Bolivia, which is located in the middle of South America, by the way… We’re not all Mexicans!

To the people saying “apply for citizenship,” I can’t help but laugh because it is not that simple. Some people have to wait more than 25 years just to receive their citizenship. Some people can’t afford to wait 25 years while they are in dangerous environments. Moving to this country was something we did for survival, something my parents did to better my brother’s and my future.

And just like you, I do pay my taxes and so does my family. And just like you, I do have dreams and I am working hard to achieve them. And just like you, I will be an American and will, too, help to make America Great.

Don’t make me go back to a country that I can barely remember. #DefendDACA

 

To find out how you can help #DefendDACA go to www.defendDACA.com to find resources and events near you.  

 

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