From the DACAmented citizen

November 3, 2020

Dear GV friends, colleagues, and students,

As a longtime Michigander, I enjoy the freedoms of being a part of a rustic community that values culture, family, and outdoor adventure. Similar to you, I have the privilege of attending Grand Valley State University and the opportunity to obtain a world-class education. As fellow Michiganders, we can similarly identify by our Michigander mannerism and phrases, love for hot summer days in Lake Michigan, and admiration for the Lakers. In many ways, I am like you— a midwesterner, an American. In all ways but in one, a piece of paper.

In 2001, at the age of three, my family and I came to the United States due to the economic devastation brought by the NAFTA trade deal. With only two suitcases, one hundred dollars, and close family and friends left behind, my family risked everything, including their lives, in hopes of achieving the American Dream. Although my parents tried their best to shield my siblings and me from the hostile environment against immigrants, my childhood was drastically impacted by the anxiety and depression caused by being undocumented.

In 2012, hope for a brighter future was given to nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants like myself, who celebrated the landmark decision enacted by President Obama. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) granted Dreamers that were brought to this country as children, the opportunity to work, obtain a driver’s license, and further their education and pursue the American dream in the country we all call home. This decision allowed many of us to come out of the shadow and live our lives, undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic.

However, in recent times, that once-vibrant hope has evaporated into fear. Participants once shielded under Obama’s program are now used as political scapegoats. In the summer of 2020, the Supreme court blocked the current administration’s attempt to end DACA, however, a month after the ruling, Homeland Security announced new DACA renewal limits and has continued to reject new applications. The fear-driven immigration policies that the administration has adopted continue to impact our immigrant community in Michigan and across the country through massive raids and deportations; pushing a lot of families, like my own, back into the dark shadows.

Although DACA has never been the perfect solution, it gave us the opportunity to pursue the once unattainable. With DACA we can pursue higher education, become homeowners, obtain a secure job, and open bank accounts.  We are a living example of what an oppressed and discriminated population can accomplish when given the opportunity to contribute to society.

To my Laker Community, I ask that my lived experiences as a DACA recipient can expand your knowledge to demand justice for not only the undocumented or formerly undocumented individuals on campus and across America, but to also commit to fighting for justice for ALL minoritized communities, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Together, more than ever, we must unite to fight against the systematic racism shattering American values and beliefs and advance towards a more compassionate society.

Today, I implore you to get involved and be the voice for the voiceless. With the upcoming election cycle just days away, it’s more important than ever to speak out and take action against injustice, because injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. In the fight against systemic racism and inequality, YOUR vote offers the opportunity to elect leaders that lead with compassion and empathy. Your vote has an impact to ignite change and hope! Vote for Equality. Vote for Unity. Vote for Human Rights. Vote on November 3rd,

Yours Truly,

The DACAmented Citizen

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