Ariel Lopez: “It’s like we have an expiration date on our lives”
Cleveland, OH – This past weekend, Cleveland-area Dreamers and advocates gathered in Market Square Park and urged lawmakers to pass the “clean” Dream Act by the end of the year. Carrying signs featuring the expiration dates of various Ohio Dreamers’ DACA status, they left group voicemails with Senator Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman’s Cleveland offices.
The urgency for a Dreamer solution was clear. As Ariel Lopez, a Dreamer from Lakewood, put it: “It’s like we have expiration dates on our lives.”
Last week, America’s Voice published another blog post highlighting actions of We Belong Together in Columbus. In it, local children wrote letters to Senator Rob Portman expressing their thoughts on why Congress should pass the Dream Act this year.
Below are key excerpts from the Plain Dealer article, “Supporters of Cleveland-area ‘Dreamers’ call for “clean” DACA fix, end to deportations (photos)”:
Ariel Lopez’ expiration date is Aug. 31, 2019.
That’s the day the 23-year-old’s DACA status ends, and — unless a fix is made — he could be deported from the country he entered as a baby.
Lopez is one of thousands in Ohio who signed up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, for minors who had not come legally into the United States.
At a rally Saturday in Cleveland’s Market Square, he spoke to supporters of the program’s beneficiaries, known as “Dreamers.”
Lopez said his parents brought him from Mexico when he was a year old to seek treatment for a severe skin condition. He’s lived here since, growing up in Cleveland and Lakewood, where he lives now.
President Donald Trump’s administration announced in September it was dismantling the Obama-era program, but then gave Congress a window of time to come up with a legislative fix.
DACA has since become a bargaining chip in negotiations to pass a needed federal spending bill.
Earlier this month, a stopgap spending agreement kept the government from shutting down until Dec. 22. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said after that agreement that Democrats won’t agree to a spending bill without safeguarding the “Dreamers.”
Lopez, who attends Cuyahoga Community College studying business administration, said the need for a fix is urgent.
“We need it now, on the [December] 22nd,” he told the supporters.
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