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Dreamer: I discovered my passion for politics and community organizing

Ada Marys  |  Issue: April | May 2018

CHICAGO – When DACA was implemented, I was finally able to share with the world who I truly was. I grew encouraged to not only tell my story but also to get involved and help other Dreamers like me. I joined the DREAMers Club at my high school and eventually became president. It was through this club that I discovered my passion for politics and community organizing.

I was only a year old, when I came to the United States. I immigrated from Mexico with my mom and brother, who was five years old at the time. As we attempted to cross the desert, we were abandoned by our guide after our car caught on fire. Not only did we face the danger of being caught, but we got lost and began to become dehydrated.

Fortunately, my aunt in California arranged for someone to pick up my brother, and I so we could cross safely. However, this meant my mom had to be separated from us. She would eventually cross in the trunk of a car with two other men.

Luckily, we all made it safely to California. Up until this point, my father had yet to meet me. He had been living in the United States for months already, but he missed my birth, my first steps, and many other significant moments of my first year.

Regardless of that, I don’t hold these things against him. At the end of the day, my mom and he gave up so much more just so my brother and I could have the opportunity to dream. After we arrived safely in California, we moved to Chicago and have lived here ever since.

Growing up, I felt no different than any of my peers. In all ways but on paper, I felt American. The only time I felt out of place was when I was asked about my birthplace. For as long as I can remember, I was told to lie and say that I was born here because there was always a constant fear of being discovered.

This led me to develop a phobia of the police because I felt that any interaction with them meant my family and I would be deported. It wasn’t until high school that I overcame this fear and decided to step out of the shadows.

Although I am grateful for DACA, it is important to remember that it is not a permanent solution – the only permanent solution for Dreamers is the DREAM Act. As a society, we should not only fight for the DREAM Act, but it is vital that we fight for legislation that protects all of the millions of immigrants that keep America thriving.

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