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Dreamers keep DACA awake and alive

DACA+Recipient+Ana+Rojas+volunteering+at+United+Way+Kick+Off
DACA Recipient Ana Rojas volunteering at United Way Kick Off

DACA Recipient Ana Rojas volunteering at United Way Kick Off

DACA Recipient Ana Rojas volunteering at United Way Kick Off

Lisa Lilianstrom, Staff Writer

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When Ana Rojas was four years old she came from Irapuato, Guanajuato Mexico to the United States of America. Rojas is the Event Coordinator for ASPIRE  1G and will graduate as a Business Administration Major in May and plans to transfer to Northern Illinois University in the fall. Rojas is one of 700,000 immigrants who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Like her fellow recipients, she does have fears about her future, including going back to a country she doesn’t really know and has no sense of security in.

“In Mexico, there is truly no sense of safety in the community and country,” Rojas said. “No one is truly safe walking around in the streets or even in their homes because someone could steal from them.”

On April 2, 2018, President Trump made an announcement that “DACA was dead” due to an agreement not being reached about it, leaving many immigrants worried about their future in this country.

On April 13, the Student Success Infrastructure (SSI) and the Undocumented Student Leadership Committee,  had an event where students and faculty could learn how they can support undocumented students in these times of uncertainty. It was a collaboration with Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU).

Yadira Alonzo is a student at NEIU who is majoring in Anthropology with a Minor in Linguistics and Biology. When Alonzo graduates from NEIU, she hopes to attend graduate school and become a certified Speech Pathologist. Alonzo came to Chicago when she was ten years old and after the announcement knew that it wasn’t going to be easy.

“I knew rough times were coming,” Alonzo said. “I knew that my doors would close if I didn’t have that work permit. However, there were many people to offer me their support. I knew that Trump was against us, but he would not shut down our dreams.”

Alonzo and her family came to America in hopes of finding better opportunities.

“I would say that this country has a lot more freedom but only to those who are privileged enough,” Alonzo said. “As a DACAmented person, I do not qualify for many resources as I would in my home country. However, this country does offer a lot more opportunities than my own country. My parents left their home country to look for a better future for my siblings and I.”

Incoming Student Trustee, Esmeralda Flores, who is majoring in Political Science was born in America but moved to Mexico at 12, and came back to America as a teenager. While Flores is not a dreamer, she continues to advocate for dreamers. A possible dream of hers is to go to law school and become an immigration lawyer.

“As an immigrant myself, I remember just how much of a culture shock I felt when I went back to Mexico, and I remember just how I felt like I wasn’t accepted and how difficult it was to adapt to a culture that I hadn’t grown up with, this is why I became involved with DACA because I know how it felt like to be in a country that wasn’t mine,” Flores said.

When Trump first made the announcement, Flores could feel the anxiety in the school.

“That day I remember I was in shock along with other fellow student leaders, I remember going outside to the Jobe Lounge and seeing no students outside, that was the moment I started crying, because I could feel the sadness and the anxiety in the levels, so it was a heartbreaking moment for me and other student leaders as well,” Flores said.

When asked what can supporters to do help Rojas said there are many different kinds of ways to help.

“Support could help us in many ways, but the best way they can help is through educating not only themselves but others,” Rojas said. “Exercising their right to vote, calling their congressmen and women to support immigration reforms.”

Alonzo encourages people to keep supporting the cause no matter what.

“I believe supporters and allies, should keep supporting the cause,” Alonzo said. Make it public that you support all undocumented, you all need to support that not all undocumented people are criminals. Some of us came to this country at a very young age, and sometimes we feel like we do not belong anywhere. Also, share all the resources that may benefit an undocumented student or undocumented people overall. We are the people that work twice as hard to obtain the privileges that US citizen obtains.”

Despite the fears about the future of DACA, Alonzo’s dreams are still alive.

“Yes, we all live in limbo,” Alonzo said. “We do not know what’s going to happen. People, often times tend to ask “what’s going to happen?” However, I do wish I had an answer to that question. We undocumented have always lived difficult lives but that don’t stop us from keeping our dreams alive.”

About the Writer
Lisa Lilianstrom, Writer and Photographer
My name is Lisa Lilianstrom and I am getting my Associate in Arts degree with an intent to transfer and major in Journalism. Besides the Observer I am also the service officer in United Students of All Cultures (USAC), I am also an ally for the LGBTQ+ club Students Who Are Not Silent (S.W.A.N.S), I...
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Dreamers keep DACA awake and alive