So what the hell are you complaining about?
Updated: May 7
I am not writing this blog to get a pat on the back and be called "one of the good ones". This blog is more of a "the one who got away" message for after we leave. What seems to get lost in the shuffle of regurgitating my resume and accomplishments is that all of it was done on a tightrope. At any given moment, it all could've ended. Our worst case scenario is the sudden ending of DACA, the immediate cancellation of work permits and the worst part: the immediate threat of deportation to a country I left as an infant. How are you supposed to sleep at night when that is all a very real and imminent threat to your livelihood? People in poverty are often found to be in "survival mode" which increases stress hormones in the body. Imagine having to work various jobs and get perfect grades and start a career with this dagger hanging over your head for over 10 years. I have never NOT been stressed out and I'm honestly tired of it.
I understand my privilege and my education is not something that all DREAMers have. I have a great husband, a place to live, an awesome job and enough free time to write about it. I understand that there are DREAMers who do not have the ability and funds to accomplish what I have and this blog is for them. Kids in ESL classes and kids in mixed status families who have to work to keep the lights on. Kids who act as translators for their parents from the moment they can read. Once I get some eyes on this blog I am going to make it a point to highlight their stories alongside mine because every single one of us deserves to be heard and seen for once. DACA gave us the gift to come out of the shadows and I want to scream from the hilltops that we are here, we are contributing and we deserve better.
After the failed DREAM Act in 2012, no significant legislation ever made it to the Oval Office from Congress and Obama created DACA via Executive order just to give us the bare minimum we would need to operate in this country, a Social Security Number and a work authorization card that expires every two years and costs $500 to renew. Aside from that, we were on our own. Individual states slowly started to grant more privileges like allowing us to get driver's licenses and occupational licenses. Many states have opened up their college funding to undocumented students and have removed the 'international student" rules from their tuition. Regardless, while life is a little easier, 10 years later we are NOWHERE closer to a pathway to citizenship.
So legally, what are the options then? If you marry a U.S Citizen and you have a legal entry on your passport (meaning you came in legally at least once and just overstayed) you can adjust your status and have citizenship within a few years. So what if you don't have a legal entry then? You can get a legal entry by applying for Advance Parole which allows you to leave the country with permission for a pre-approved amount of time and only for certain reasons or you can go back to your home country and try to do a visa interview at a consulate. Neither of those two options are guarantees and both put you at risk of not being able to return. The risk of leaving behind literally my entire life against my will does not appeal to me so I have no real options to get citizenship.
Ferry from Liberty Island to Jersey City