Undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic – I’m fighting for the Dreamers

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By Vicente Rodriguez

My dream is to become a teacher. For the past seven years, I’ve worked hard toward this goal, taking courses at a community college while working minimum wage jobs to cover tuition and support my family.

The day President Trump rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it seemed like my dream of becoming a teacher was being yanked out from under me. I felt lost and so depressed that my wife and best friend were worried about me.

Later that same day, however, there was a DACA rally at the Department of Homeland Security in San Bernardino, California. When I arrived, I saw that more than 200 people from the community had come out to defend people like me. This meant so much to me — I was not alone!

Please show DACA-mented educators and all DREAMers that they are not alone. Click here to call Congress now and tell them to pass the DREAM Act of 2017.

My parents immigrated from Mexico to the United States in the 1970s. I have four siblings, all of whom were born in the U.S. But when my mother was pregnant with me, my family had to return to Mexico due to a family emergency. Then — tah-dah! — I was born in Mexico. No big deal, right? Wrong.

After graduating from high school in San Bernardino, the full jolt of being undocumented hit me. I couldn’t get a driver’s license or a Social Security Card. The only jobs I could land were menial and they paid — or to be more accurate, underpaid — under the table. I couldn’t even fly on an airplane.

DACA changed all that. It allowed me to come out of the shadows, and it expanded my horizons. It enabled me to become an advocate and activist in Student CTA (California Teachers Association) and the NEA Student Program. With the Student CTA program, I advocated for the creation of the DREAMER Scholarship that awarded two scholarships in 2016.

You can support DACA recipients in numerous ways: Go to rallies and marches. Sponsor DACA renewals. Create a safe space for undocumented students.

And contact your elected representatives in Congress, and urge them to support the Dream Act of 2017.

My DACA expires in May of 2019, half a year before I become a teacher. So I don’t qualify for the DACA renewal on October 5. But I still intend to do all I can to help others who qualify for their renewal next month. I have less than two years left with DACA and I will not surrender — I’ve worked too hard, come too far, and sacrificed too much to give up now. I will continue to fight for the Dreamers. I am undocumented. Unafraid. Unapologetic.

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