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ICYMI: “These Dreamers are saving lives”

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In a new must-read piece, CNN’s Parija Kavilanz interviews a few of the many DACA-recipients, who – as doctors, nurses, and teachers – dedicate their lives to bettering our shared nation. Now, because of White House extremism and congressional inaction, they may lose their jobs and ability to fully contribute to their communities.

According to Juan Escalante, a DACA-recipient and the Communications Manager of America’s Voice:

The debate over DACA has little to do with partisan politics and everything to do with the lives of young people who want to earn their chance to continue to enrich the nation they call home without living in the perpetual fear that is paired with the threat of deportation.

Congressional inaction on DACA will expose Dreamers, some of whom serve crucial roles in communities across the country, to immigration enforcement agents who are eager to deport. As a nation, we must demand that our lawmakers take meaningful steps towards getting Dreamers out of limbo and ensure that their talents are utilized to enrich and improve our country.

Read excerpts of the CNN piece below and find the full article here:

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has allowed nearly 689,000 Dreamers to come out from the shadows and openly attend school, get work permits and driver’s licenses and even buy homes without the fear of being deported.

But the March 5 deadline to end DACA, imposed by President Trump imposed last year, is looming. And while the courts have put the termination on hold for now, thousands of DACA recipients will become vulnerable to deportation if the court ruling is overturned and new legislation isn’t put in place.

[ … ]

One day when [Ana] Cueva was seven, her mother collapsed at work due to complications from a tumor. “She would tell me how the nurses at the hospital helped her through a difficult time.”

That helped Cueva to decide that she wanted to become a nurse one day.

In 2012, she received her DACA status, opening the door for her to enroll in nursing school. She graduated from Utah Valley University’s nursing program with honors in 2016 and started working at the hospital last year.

[ … ]

[Jose Tapia-Garcia] is proud of the role he serves in these communities. “As an EMT, we are first responders to accident scenes. I’ve delivered chest compressions and given oxygen to individuals who had difficulty breathing,” he said. “I’ve also extricated people from crash sites.”

Tapia-Garcia, who arrived in the United States with his parents from Chiautla, Mexico, when he was 3 years old, gained his DACA status in 2014. If DACA dies with no permanent alternative, he won’t be allowed to keep working once his status expires in two years.

“My hopes and dreams will stop,” he said. “This is what I want to do. It’s my calling.”

[ … ]

For some of her high school students, Ivonne Orozco’s DACA status has turned into a timely and personal lesson on immigration.

“My students are aware of my story and they’re asking questions,” said Orozco, who has taught Spanish at the Public Academy for Performing Arts, a charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the past four years. “It’s great to see my students educating themselves, looking up what DACA means and becoming aware of the issue,” she said.

Orozco was 12 when she left Chihuahua, Mexico, and arrived in the United States with her parents. They settled in a small town in New Mexico, where she initially struggled to learn English. She credits her teachers for helping her assimilate and become fluent in her second language. “It’s when I first noticed the power teachers have in helping you see yourself in a different light,” said Orozco.