My name is Ciriac Alvarez and I am undocumented and today I declare once again, unafraid. For the past 5 years I have benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalsft (DACA) program. Today, the end of the program comes much quicker than we had hoped.
With DACA young immigrants like me used this opportunity to work, to go to school, and to build our communities up.
When DACA was first announced we understood this was a temporary relief from deportation while we awaited comprehensive reform. Today, we still await this reform but now without any security blanket.
To all the journalists and reporters today, I am angry and frustrated. My community has seen time and time again that our existence is invalidated. Our parents have often worn the burden of the sin of being undocumented. Today I tell you that I am not angry at our parents. Today I am again angry at the systems and lack of structure that has forced immigrants to be undocumented. I am angry that you place blame on individuals who made decisions based on broken immigration systems and laws. I am angry that immigration is simplified as if “illegal” and “legal” terms were black and white. I am frustrated at the lack of comprehension towards a pathway to legalization for immigrants like myself.
Today, it feels as if we are not enough. Despite all the positive that the DACA program has brought to our economy, our communities, and our personal livelihoods, it is not enough. 800,000 of us came out of the shadows and proved that we are woven into the fabric of America, yet here we are.
While the arguments stand that the executive action was not legal and shouldn’t have been done, the fact is, it was. It’s a grey area. Not only because we are talking about people but because of the power presidents have. We are also talking about the decision of one president who may be ignoring the fact that almost 1 million undocumented young people have made the United States better.
The fact is, you are taking away a program has worked and leaving us with nothing.
That is no solution. That shows no heart or compassion. Our communities and families deserve better.
I am angry that this program was the only option available because Congress could not agree on compassionate and humane immigration reform. We are people first. No matter what numbers are put into perspective. Immigrants are humans, we breathe and exist the same way you do. We deserve the same dignity and respect the same way you do.
Today I am reminded that our search for immigrant justice continues. I refuse to go back to the shadows because immigrants like myself, have proved with DACA that coming out of the shadows only brought positive impacts to our lives and yours.
My heart hurts for my community who has reaped the benefits of something so small yet so significant as a workers permit. With workers permits 800,000 of us created unimaginable impacts both personally and throughout the lives of those around us. My heart hurts for the students who may lose teachers, patients who may lost nurses, paramedics, and CNA’s.
I may be angry and full of sadness, but I am also full of hope. My parents taught me resilience, faith, and strength, the kind that refuses to give in. For the past couple of days, I have seen the rise in urgency to protect young immigrants like me. I urge you all to continue this fight and to remember that our parents struggles are also valid.
Is this the end? No way. Is this our downfall? Of course not. I do however, validate the anger. I validate your sadness.
Our fight is together and today, we once again continue.