On Monday, I walked into a port of entry in Nogales, Mexico with seven
other Dreamers and asked the Obama administration to use its
discretion to allow us to return to the United States. As you read
this, I may be in a detention center. Five of us were forced to leave
because we were deported, or because current law encouraged us to
self-deport. Three of us left recently help them fight for the right
to come home.
Millions of families like mine have been separated for far too long. I
waited 15 years to see my grandfather again, and to meet the rest
of my family. My family is also one of the 1.7 million that have been
separated by Obama's deportation "monster," as Claudia Amaro calls
it. Claudia's husband was deported eight years ago, forcing her and
her son to leave their home in the U.S. and move to Mexico. All these
years, Claudia has been waiting for a chance to come home, and she
will be joining Adriana, Ceferino, Lulu, Luis, Maria, Marco, and
I know how it feels to wait on the other side of the fence for your
loved one to come home. My uncle was deported two years ago, leaving a
wife, children, and grandchildren behind. Our family was shaken to the
core. We were afraid that any of us could be next.
For years, we have succeeded in stopping the deportations of DREAM
Act-eligible youth by using their cases to embarrass the Department of
Homeland Security. Once a case received media attention, or
immigration officials began receiving hundreds of calls, these
DREAMers were suddenly "not a priority" for deportation, and released
back to their families. The 2011 'Morton Memo' established the
priorities Immigration and Customs Enforcement in formal policy, and
gave us a yardstick by which to push even further. We successfully
stopped the deportation of mothers, fathers, and many others not
eligible for the DREAM Act, but still called the United States home.
Then, last year we succeeded in infiltrating a detention center in
Florida, and fought for the release of dozens of detainees by bringing
their cases into the public light. With this action, we hope to
continue to build on our successes.
In the United States, undocumented immigrants run the risk of being
taken from their home, no matter where we are. We have won many fights
against deportation, but not all of them. It's time to take away the
power deportation has over us.
Just because the administration has sent them over a wall, or across
an ocean, does not mean they should stop fighting. Ask yourself: would
you let anyone take you from your home? From your family? We have not,
and neither should the many, many more like us.
If immigration reform passes, we cannot leave out the millions of
people whose families have been separated by deportation. They deserve
to be home, and if we win, they may come home soon. They deserve not
to be forgotten. They deserve a pathway home, and Congress should
create it right away. As immigration reform is debated in the House,
take a moment to call your representative and tell them to let us --
and the thousands more like us -- come home.
Deportation is not the end of the story. We know we can fight, and
together, we can win.