Opinion: ‘Dreamers’ like me still have no path to citizenship. And in Arizona, we pay vastly more to attend college. You can help change the latter.
By Mario Montoya opinion contributor
I have been in Arizona since I was 5 and a “Dreamer” at 14, when I was an incoming freshman at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.
I thought I would be a U.S citizen by the time I graduated from college. This year, I earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Arizona State University – yet my immigration status and livelihood in the U.S remains in limbo.
It’s been 10 years since President Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect young people like me from deportation. Under this program, I was able to get a driver’s license, attend college and have a work permit.
But still there’s no actual path to U.S citizenship. I’m grateful to be a DACA recipient, but even that is no sure thing.
We live in constant fear and uncertainty
Since its inception, DACA has faced several legal challenges. I’ve been overwhelmed with fear and anxiety with every lawsuit, presidential administrative memorandum and court ruling.
At any second, my legal presence in the only country I have known could be taken away. Later this year the 5th Circuit of Appeals will hear a Texas lawsuit challenging DACA’s legality. Once again, I am reminded of the constant uncertainty of my life.
What does fear look like?
“We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the DACA program, an executive order that changed the lives of millions of young undocumented persons who were finally able to emerge from the shadows and apply for work permits, social security cards, and licenses and IDs for the first time. There has never been a better time than now for Congress to reach across the aisle and enshrine DACA into legislation to continue to protect these young and hardworking Dreamers who have called America home for the majority of their lives.”
Darius Amiri, Chair of Immigration Law Department, Rose Law Group