Things That Matter

These Illustrations Tell The Stories Of DACA Recipients In Their Own Words

When the White House announced the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Pablo Stanley, designer and co-founder at Carbon Health, felt the impact.

“It made me sad. It made it so hard to come to work and put on a happy face as though everything is okay,” says the Mexican-American artist.

Stanley immediately started brainstorming how he could use his talents to support those affected and take some action.

The illustrator decided to create portraits of DACA recipients, so they could share their stories in their own words. And that’s how Dreamer Stories was born.

“In just reading their stories and giving them a platform to tell their stories you realize that their experiences and everything that’s going on is so heavy,” says Stanley. “I feel honored to be a bit of a vehicle for sharing these stories with the world.”

While many DACA recipients are feeling fear, anxiety, and sadness, Stanley made sure to also share their joys and smiling faces. It’s his hope to create a portrait of their dreams and show them as the regular people they are, living their lives and not succumbing to the narrative the media tends to paint of them.

“They’re people who are alive and want to do more than cry on a corner,” says Stanley. “Many of them are activists themselves. The situation they’re in has given them this super power of empathy. When I asked them what their dream is many said to help other people that are in my situation.”

Estefanía works as a paralegal community advocate at the Equal Justice Center in Dallas.

CREDIT: Image credit: Pablo Stanley

“Despite struggles, limitations, and uncertainty a big achievement for me is that I am the first generation college student in my family. My family always told me that I couldn’t go to college because of my legal status. It took a huge toll on me but thanks to a 2001 state law in Texas, it would allow me, an undocumented student to pay in-state tuition as long as I proved I had lived in Texas for more than three years. I also graduated from my university debt-free through private scholarships and my parent’s sacrifices! Today, thanks to DACA I have a full-time job, I bought my first car, I got my driver’s license, and I was able to travel to Italy through advanced parole for educational purposes during my undergrad year. And now, I plan on continuing my education by going to law school and becoming an immigration lawyer.”

Read her full story here.

Gibrán works full-time in retail while also going to school.

CREDIT: Image credit: Pablo Stanley

As far as his dream:

“I think learning English has been the primary challenge for me, my friends say it’s great but I feel I can still improve.”

Read more here.

Alonso was born in Peru and emigrated to the U.S. when he was 11.

CREDIT: Image credit: Pablo Stanley

“Growing up undocumented in Utah truly shaped me into the person I am today. My experiences growing up in the margins of society inform the work I do, and the work I seek to continue doing in this life. I am passionate about working with undocumented students and families and strive to share all my knowledge and experiences with the undocumented community as well as the community as a whole.”

Read the rest of his story here.

Nayeli came to the U.S. when she was six and will graduate in December from college with a B.S. in web application development and a minor in marketing.

CREDIT: Image credit: Pablo Stanley

“My first dream is to create or take part in a business that provides change and opportunities for other cultural groups. My second dream is to contribute to the breaking down of the digital divide by teaching minority groups how to use technology to help improve their business or everyday lives.

My final and maybe my greatest dream is to be able to support my parents financially so that they can finally retire. They have sacrificed their lives and time so that I could have a better future, and I only wish to be able to repay that back.”

Here is the rest of Nayeli’s story.

To read more, go to DreamerStories.com.


READ: There Are Many Ways To Help DACAmented People. Here Are A Few.

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Biden For President / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers. Hundreds of thousands of young adults rely on the protection from deportation and work authorization to live with dignity and out of the shadows. Presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to make sure they stay protected.

Dreamers are looking to a Biden administration to finish what an Obama administration started.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

According to the official Biden campaign website, the presidential nominee will work with Congress to reinstate DACA protections and to create a pathway to citizenship. DACA was won by undocumented activists putting fear aside and publicly fought to change the minds of Americans and politicans.

“Undocumented ‘youth’ are no longer youth,” says Moises Serrano, DACA activist and the man profiled in the documentary “Forbidden.” “DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants have been living in fear and instability for decades now. We survived eight years under the Obama administration and four years under the Trump administration. Immigration reform was promised under the Obama-Biden platform; a promise that is still unfulfilled.”

He added: “We hope that President Biden puts an end to the instability in our lives once and for all, or we are ready to hold him accountable in the same way we held Obama accountable in our fight for Administrative Relief.”

Biden’s policy proposes protecting Dreamers and helping them advance in this country.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

Biden promises to reinstate DACA to protect Dreamers and will be looking into ways to protect their families. The policy put forth by a potential Biden administration is pivotal in giving those who are DACA recipients a chance to live without fear and with all of the rights as their fellow citizens.

“After living through a deep loss in 2016 after losing my second mother and only being granted access to be on her deathbed in Mexico through my ability to get advanced parole through DACA I learned that no loss would ever be greater than that,” said Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient, political operative and policy advocate. “However, November rolled around and another loss took place. One that impacted my life, that of my family and my community.”

DACA is a very important issue as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

People like Nava are hopeful that a Biden administration will bring that dignity back to the immigrant community. It is a community that is vibrant and has contributed vastly to American culture. A BIden administration would be a chance for Nava to see herself reflected in government.

“I am hopeful to see the daughter of immigrants, a woman of color, and a woman I can finally feel represented by be sworn in as the first woman VP of this country,” Nava says. “I will look forward to an administration that listens to the communities it intends to represent. An administration that empowers the entire country to work with each other to support, strengthen, respect and uplift each other each and every day. An administration that values and is grateful for the contributions that immigrants bring to the foundation of our country each and every day.”

Nava wants to see an immigration reform that puts immigrant humanity at the forefront. One that understands the needs for people to seek refuge and a better life in a foreign country.

“No immigrant seeks to find a fix on a silver platter. Nor do they believe that this will be an easy task,” Nava says. “The only thing our families ask for is a chance. Una oportunidad para recordarle a este pais that their lucha and determination comes from a deep sense of ganas to create a life filled with more opportunities than they ever had.”

The battle over DACA is far from over but it is clear that the Trump administration is on the wrong side of public opinion. Biden’s plan would strengthen DACA and restore the program to its full functionality.

READ: Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

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President Trump Falsely Claimed That Covid Is To Blame For Ending DACA

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President Trump Falsely Claimed That Covid Is To Blame For Ending DACA

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on behalf of the Trump administration. Since then hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients have lived in uncertainty. President Donald Trump tried to rewrite history at his town hall event Oct. 15.

President Donald Trump blamed the end of DACA on Covid during his town hall.

The truth is that President Trump’s administration attempted to end DACA in 2017. Former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was the attorney general at the time and made the announcement in a press conference. Since then, the Trump administration has continued to advance a lawsuit to terminate the program. DACA allows for hundreds of thousands of adults to work and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

Long before Covid, the Trump administration was told to resume DACA as intended.

Instead, the Trump administration has violated federal orders and continued to restrict DACA and those who can apply. The Supreme Court refused to hear arguments against DACA meaning that the lower court’s ruling stood. The ruling was that the Trump administration had to reinstate the program in full. However, the Supreme Court did not dismiss the case allowing for the administration to come back.

President Trump also claimed that DACA recipients and Dreamers are not that same.

Another falsehood by the president at the town hall. DACA recipients are indeed Dreamers. The term Dreamers does apply to DACA recipients who would benefit from the DREAM Act. The legislation would legally enshrine the protections of DACA and was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois in 2001. Over the course of 19 years, the piece of legislation has not moved despite the overwhelming support from the American public.

People watching the town hall were quick to call out President Trump.

People are not letting President Trump get away with trying to rewrite history about DACA. His administration is the one trying to strip DACA recipients of their protections. At one point, President Trump tried using DACA recipients as political pawns in an attempt to secure funding for his border wall.

Voters are calling on other voters to help protect the program in November.

The two nominees have very different DACA plans. President Trump has and will continue to try to take away the protections from DACA recipients. Former Vice President Joe Biden has a plan to offer citizenship to DACA recipients, something American voters support. DACA is a wildly popular program that gives some of the most vulnerable people in our society a chance to live a normal life.

READ: The Trump Administration Has Officially Rescinded DACA. Here’s What You Need To Know.

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