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Ohio “Dreamers” Available to Discuss This Week’s Senate Debate on Immigration, Expectations for Senators Brown and Portman

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“I felt more substantial, having DACA”

“I’m afraid I’ll have to be an ‘alien’ in a country I don’t know” 

Cleveland, OH – Dreamers from Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Findlay, Lorain, and across Ohio are available this week for media interviews about the U.S. Senate immigration debate.

Sara Hamdi is a Dreamer and DACA beneficiary from Englewood, near Dayton.  Sara was born in Morocco and has two siblings who are U.S. citizens.  Watch her talking about life with and without DACA in this video from For Ohio’s Future: “I felt more substantial, having DACA.  Even though I feel like I still had to look over my shoulder a little bit, it’s not like before where I literally felt like I couldn’t do anything without jeopardizing my family.”  Asked what she will do if Congress doesn’t pass the Dream Act, Sara said: “I’m afraid I’ll have to go be an ‘alien’ in a country I don’t know.”

José Arnulfo Cabrera is a community leader who came to the US when he was four years old and has lived in Cincinnati ever since. Growing up, José Arnulfo was always going to rallies, marches, and meetings with his mother – all surrounding the rights of immigrants or workers. Initially, he found the rallies boring, until one day, he was “tricked” into telling his story and found the strength of sharing his own past. Today, José Arnulfo is a beneficiary of DACA, a graduating senior at Xavier University, and the immigration program organizer at IJPC, where he coordinates the YES program.

Cabrera was part of a group of eight Ohio Dreamers who traveled all the way to Washington last November, in an attempt to meet with Senator Rob Portman about the Dream Act.  The group sat in Senator Portman’s office until he finally appeared and gave them some time.  Read about what happened here.

José Mendez came to the US when he was seven and now works as a security guard. He is also the Cleveland Director for DreamActivist Ohio.  José recently said: ”I keep people safe. I have been here all my life, like the other dreamers. We have jobs, families, lives. We are your neighbors, your friends. We played by the rules.” He first applied for DACA in 2012, the same year it was announced. “I came out of the shadows and freely gave my information to the government because I trusted them…Let me tell you, I am not going back into the shadows.”

Manny Bartsch’s near-deportation was one of the first “Dreamer” cases to garner national attention, over ten years ago.  Since then, he has married a US citizen and become a father.  He appeared on the cover of TIME Magazinein 2012 and has remained active in the immigration movement.  Manny is a DACA recipient.  He said: “DACA ending worries me, because it will take away the tools I have for providing for my son.  He is the one it will directly affect the most.  It saddens me and breaks my heart that my immigration status will impact his life.”

Corina Barranco is a high school student in Lorain and is active in the Lorain Ohio Immigrant Rights Association (LOIRA), a grassroots immigrant support organization.  Late last year, Corina attended and graduated from the Lorain Police Citizens Academy, a program designed to improve police-community relations.  Corina said: “Before this, I was scared to death of police — let me just put it out there, I was terrified of them.  Coming here it totally changed my perspective on police and what they do.  They earned my respect, because before that, like I said, I just feared them.”

Sara, José, José, Manny, Corina, and other Dreamers across Ohio are available to talk to the media this week about their lives, what DACA means to them, and why they need Congress to pass a permanent solution.  To connect with Ohio Dreamers, email press@americasvoice.org. 

For more about Dreamers in Ohio, see: