By Gema Hernandez
My name is Gema Hernandez. I am 22 years old, and a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. My dream is to become an immigration attorney and advise undocumented students in the public higher education system, but my future is at risk.
Take Action ›
Sign the pledge to #DefendDACA Click here ›
I was born in Jalisco, Mexico. My family and I migrated to the United States when I was four years old. In the fall of 2013, two years after my older brother was deported and separated from my family and his children, I was granted deportation relief through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order issued by President Obama.
Because of this temporary provision, me and nearly 800,000 others protected under DACA have contributed to this country since it was signed in 2012. Because of DACA I have been able to travel abroad for educational purposes, work a full-time job, and become the first in my family to graduate from a University, without fear of wage-theft or deportation. We are teachers, scientists, small businesses owners, and students – building our lives, our families, and our communities. We are a part of the foundation of this country.
But we are not safe. President Trump and his Administration have shown outright contempt for the immigrant community living in this country. As an executive order, President Trump can repeal DACA at his discretion. If DACA was repealed, the livelihood of almost 800,000 recipients, including myself, and my loved ones would be affected.
Repeal of DACA is not a distant threat for us, but a very real possibility with measurable consequences.
What gives us hope in this fight is the Dream Act of 2017, a bi-partisan bill introduced on July 20, 2017 by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). This bill would provide undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States at a young age with protection from deportation and a path to citizenship if they meet requirements regarding education, work, and background checks.
But until Congress acts with a strong legislative solution, we must #DefendDACA.
The time to protect DACA from being terminated is now. Please join us by taking the pledge to STAND WITH STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS TO SUPPORT DACA.