A young Dreamer posted a story on Humans of New York that has resonated with hundreds of thousands of people. In it, she discussed immigrating from Mexico with her mother, a "hustler" who would do anything to put food on the table for her family.
Back home, her divorced mom would "sell jewelry, or food, or anything that she could," she wrote. The young woman was eight when her family came to the U.S. She said her mom had expected to start a business, but it proved much harder than she had expected. Now, at 50, she cleans houses every day, and lately, her health has been deteriorating.
The Trump administration is planning to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted under President Obama, which gave about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the opportunity to work and go to school legally.
But with all of the focus on Dreamers, their parents — the people who brought them here — have been largely left out of the conversation. While the Obama administration has sought to include Dreamers' undocumented parents in the legislation, Republicans sued to keep the program from expanding. In June, Trump officially did away with Obama's DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) executive order, which was never implemented because 25 states had sued to block it.
"I’m a Dreamer. And everyone loves the Dreamers because we're a perfect package to sell. But why am I the only one who gets the chance to feel safe?" wrote the young woman. "Whenever I hear 'I stand with Dreamers,' I always think about my mom. I’m not willing to throw her under the bus. I'm not willing to be a bargaining chip to make her seem like a criminal. Everything people admire about Dreamers is because of our parents."
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She says she is now in school, but is not sure she wants to go to law or graduate school after she graduates because, "My mom would literally destroy her body to make that happen for me." While DACA gave Dreamers the right to have work permits and social security numbers, and shielded them from deportation, they still don't receive any type of federal help such as college loans.
The post has garnered 294,000 likes, 46,000 comments, and 3,800 comments as of press time. The comments have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.
"I stand united with you, your family, and all the Dreamers and their families," wrote one Facebook user. "There are MILLIONS of us who love and care about each of you and we will do all we can to protect you."
Another Dreamer shared her story in the comments: "I am part of the 800,000 as well," she wrote. "I was brought to the United States when I was just five years old. My first memory in this country is trying a PB&J sandwich for the first time at a holding cell in Texas; at such a young age, that is one of the most terrifying things I have lived through... Thank you for sharing your story, a story that is a clear representation of what we have all endured." Then she added, in Spanish: "And you are right, thank god for our parents and for their sacrifices. This dream is theirs and for them."