Photo courtesy by Jessica Bobadilla
A Northern Arizona University track star’s longtime dream of competing in the Olympics almost didn’t come true.
That’s because 22-year-old Luis Grijalva is undocumented. However, he’s protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which also allows him to travel outside the United States and come back with permission through a process called advance parole.
On Monday, his request to travel to Tokyo to compete in the Olympics was approved.
“I think Luis is the first DACA permit holder to qualify for the Olympics and to travel to the Olympics,” Jessica Bobadilla, California-based immigration attorney who represents Grijalva, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
9 years after DACA, Congress considers path to citizenship for dreamers
Grijalva leaves for Tokyo on Friday. He’ll compete in the preliminary 5,000-meter race on Aug. 3, representing his native country of Guatemala.
“Congratulations to and best of luck to Luis Grijalva, a DACA protected Dreamer who will be permitted to travel to Tokyo to represent his home country of Guatemala in the Olympics thanks to a mechanism called Advance Parole that allows DACA recipients to apply for permission to depart and return to the United States in special circumstances. Mr. Grijalva is a great example of the success of the DACA program and further evidence of why we must continue to push for legislation that allows Dreamers to pursue citizenship in the United States, so that maybe in the next Olympics he can compete for the United States!” Darius Amiri