Dreamers and state legislators held yet another successful Dreamer Dinner tonight in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where immigrant youth shared their stories and spoke about the future of the DACA program they rely on.
In attendance were Florida State Representatives Bobby Dubose, Patricia Williams, and Barrington Russell, all Democrats; as well as immigration advocates Anjanette and Maria and DACA beneficiaries “Anna” and Elizabeth.
“We all just got to know each other,” said Maria, who just graduated from Broward with an honors degree in business administration. She came to the US as a child and has been in the country for more than 20 years, and is currently figuring out a future which may involve international business or a law degree. She also already has two associates’ degrees in business.
Over Italian food, the Representatives offered their support to Dreamers and their understanding of how importance DACA is. Rep. Dubose spoke of how he understands the struggles of immigrants, as his grandparents came from Jamaica, and he was raised within the immigrant culture. A vice president of the Florida Democratic Party was also in attendance, and floated the idea of the Dreamers coming to a future state party convention or other event. The Dreamers spoke about their academic backgrounds and futures, as well as everything from local food options to life in Fort Lauderdale. One Dreamer is preparing to start college, while another plans to enroll in medical school. They spoke about how Florida’s HB 851, the 2014 in-state tuition bill, has helped local Dreamers be able to afford college (though another Florida dinner this week stressed the need to expand the law).
As Maria said about the experience:
It was very inspirational. It gave me hope in this political climate. In this presidential administration, our spirits are low; we see so much hate and bigotry and dehumanization. Today reminded me that there are good people working in policy who understand our struggle, who want to help, and who value immigrants. I was very honored to be there today. I know it’s such a cliche, but there were just so many wonderful people.
Dreamers and advocates are holding their breath this week in the wake of news that DACA may be rescinded in the next few days. DACA is a program which has helped almost 800,000 young immigrants over five years by allowing them to work in the country legally and live without fear of deportation. Without DACA, Dreamers all over the country will lose the massive ground they have gained since the program was put in place, and face deportation from the only home they’ve ever known. Our Dreamer Dinner series are intended to help spread the word about DACA, explain why it’s crucial, and build up support for Dreamers. Help us by hosting your own Dreamer Dinner today.