Things That Matter

DACA Has Made It Possible For 800k Young People To Work Legally In America. Today People Fight To Protect It.

Chants of “one people, one nation, end immigration” were heard loud and clear during the Charlottesville white supremacy march this past weekend. These anti-immigrant chants are more than dangerous words – they are the sentiment powering the threat to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

DACA has made it possible for 800,000 young people to work legally in the U.S. It has made them feel safer in a country they consider home by protecting them from deportation.

Julissa Arce

That’s all DACA is. It’s not amnesty, it’s not a path to citizenship; it’s a work permit and protection from deportation.

Like me, many of these young people came to the U.S. as children and have thrived despite the many obstacles they have faced. I came to the U.S from Mexico with a tourist visa when I was 11 years old to be reunited with my parents.

I found out I was undocumented after I bugged my mom about having my quinceañera in Mexico. She revealed that my visa had expired and I could no longer travel outside of the U.S.  I was crushed thinking I would never be able to go to college, work or achieve the American dream.

But Texas gave me the opportunity of a lifetime in 2001 when it became the first state in the U.S to allow undocumented students to attend college and pay in-state tuition. But now, my home state of Texas is threatening to take away the opportunity of the American Dream for DACA recipients. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton is calling on other states to demand the Trump administration to terminate the DACA program by September 5th.

We cannot allow the lives of these young Americans to be threatened, and the chants of white supremacists to thrive. DACA has changed the lives of many of these young people; in the same way Texas changed my life in 2001.

Julissa Arce

DACA has given recipients the opportunity to go to college, obtain better paying jobs, buy cars and even homes. I went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with honors and became a vice-president at Goldman Sachs. I never had a quinceañera but I was able to have a double-quince in Japan.

DACA is not only good for the immigrant community, it is good for America. Ending DACA would reduce our GDP by $433 billion over the next decade and cost employers $3.4 billion in costs associated with the termination and replacement of employees. Without DACA, tax revenue would be seriously impacted. Over the next decade, $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions would be lost.

The anti-immigrant chants of “you will not replace us, end immigration,” are in direct opposition to the words of the judge who presided over my naturalization ceremony in August of 2008. He said, “becoming an American Citizen means accepting the world as your nation.”  

Today marks the fifth anniversary of DACA, and more than ever we need to drown the chants and the threats, and protect the lives of the 800,000 people who have called America home since they were children.  


READ: People Are Showing The Country What They’ve Been Able To Do #WithDACA

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

Things That Matter

Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

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A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Things That Matter

A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Photo via Getty Images

For most Latinas, having a quinceañera is a right-of-passage. Your quinceañera is the official milestone that proves you’re finally a woman. It’s a party that you look forward to your entire childhood. It’s that one time in your life that you, and only you, get to feel like a princess.

Unfortunately, not every girl has the luxury of having a quinceañera. Some girls’ families don’t have the finances to throw a huge party.

In Miami, a group of “fairy godmothers” organized a quinceañera for a homeless teen girl whose family recently emigrated from Mexico.

The girl, Adriana Palma, had moved with her family from Mexico to Miami in early 2020. But because of the pandemic, her father lost his job. Adriana, her parents, and her three younger brothers spent the next four months living in their SUV.

Relocating to another country is hard enough, but Adriana faced another challenge by being homeless, struggling to learn English, and chasing down random Wi-Fi signals in order to complete her homework assignments. It was a struggle, to say the least.

And to make matters worse, Adriana’s fifteenth birthday was coming up. Adrian’s parents told her that, since they were homeless, they wouldn’t be able to throw her a quinceañera. “We will be together as a family,” her mother, Itzel Palma, told her. “That will be my gift to you.”

Luckily, the Palma family had a group of guardian angels watching out for them. Being homeless wouldn’t prevent Adriana from having a quinceañera.

A charity called Miami Rescue Mission had already hooked up the Palmas with a small apartment for the family to get back on their feet. “Cover Girls”, a subgroup of the Miami Rescue Mission, dedicate their time to help women and children who are in tough circumstances.

When Lian Navarro, leader of the Cover Girls, found out about Adriana’s situation, she knew she had to help. Cuban-Amercian herself, Navarro knew how important quinceañeras are to young Latinas. She called up her group of volunteers and they got to work making Adriana’s dream come true.

The 60 “fairy godmothers” decided to throw Adriana the quinceañera of her dreams in a local Miami church. They settled on a theme: Paris.

The volunteers decorated the bare church in gold Eiffel towers, supplied pink macarons and French pastries, they topped off each table with a floral centerpiece. They gifted Adriana with every item on her wish list. Not to mention, Adriana was able to be dressed up in a frilly pink quinceañera dress. Her hair and makeup were professionally done. A professional photographer captured her special day.

“We want them to have these memories,” said Cover Girl volunteer, Tadia Silva, about children and teens who grow up homeless. “They have to believe they are worth all that because they are.”

After her beautiful quinceañera, Adriana appeared to know her true worth. At the end of the party, she gave her “fairy godmothers” personalized notes of thanks. “I felt like a princess,” she said.

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