Elizabeth Vilchis, DREAMer

Cory Booker
American DREAMers
Published in
5 min readDec 22, 2017

Tell me about your family. When did you come to America?

My family emigrated from Mexico when I was 7 years old. At the time of the crossing, it was just my mother, father, and younger brother. Since then, the family has grown, I now have three younger brothers that were born in the US.

Tell me more about your childhood and growing up in America?

Growing up in America, my family lived in constant fear of being deported. My siblings and I led very sheltered lives because of my parents’ fears and their efforts to try and protect us. We were not allowed to socialize or leave the house.

As I got older, I decided to stop focusing on the fear my parents felt and instead focus on their belief that moving to America was an opportunity to uplift everyone around us and live better lives. During that same time I remember that across all news outlets, reporters were taking about a crisis and shortage of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) talent in America. The messaging was powerful and left quite the impression on me. I remember thinking “I was good in math and science and could be part of the solution.” From that point forward I felt pursuing a career in STEM was my responsibility, as someone living in America, it would me to uplift both the country and my family. That moment has come to define my life’s work. Today, I have a career in the technology sector and led STEM outreach initiatives that have influences over 8,000 students in grades K-12.

How has DACA helped you?

DACA allowed me to enter the workforce and to scale my volunteering efforts.

Having the ability to earn a salary allowed me to continue to work on the launch of a logistics and technology startup company that to date has employed over 900 part time workers.

I was also able to work for Samsung at their headquarters in New Jersey and continue to my work of promoting Science, Tech, Engineering and Math (STEM) education but on a much larger scale. At Samsung I helped run a national STEM education program that allowed me to work with teachers and students in every single state in America. Through the program students developed STEM projects that helped improve their local communities.

Having the ability to work and have financial stability has also allowed me to spend time outside of work to develop a non-profit called latinoTech, which focuses on helping Latinx entrepreneurs gain access to venture capital.

Where did you go to school, and/or where do you work?

I earned a Bachelors of Engineering (B.E.) in mechanical engineering from the City College of New York in Harlem.

After over two years of working for Samsung, I have just left the company and am now focusing on growing latinoTech and launching a venture capital fund to help fund Latinx entrepreneurs building tech companies.

What are your biggest hopes and fears right now?

My biggest fear is that I will no longer have the ability to work and will be targeted by immigration officials for deportation. The government has all my personal information and I believe they will not hesitate to use it to deport DREAMers, like me.

My biggest hope is that Americans across the country will see how integral DREAMers are to our communities and the country as a whole. That they will stand-up against against hatred created by the Trump administration and instead choose to uplift DREAMers and stand beside us.

What are your dreams for the future?

My dream is to continue to contribute to give back to this country and help empower those who feel most vulnerable. I want to continue to build latinoTech and help bring elevate the companies and voices of a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.

What is your message to other Americans, members of Congress, and the President?

Message to Americans:

Across the country, every day it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make a decent living for ourselves and our families. Several of us feel unsure if we can provide and protect those they care about the most. We feel frustration for not being able to overcome things out of our control.

If you have ever had those feelings than you know what DREAMers go through every day. The uncertainty, with which they have to live and try to still get up and try their best to provide for their families.

Life is filled with challenges and for the last 16 years, we’ve done our best with the circumstances we’ve been given. We’ve managed, not so much for our selves for our families. No person should be asked to live close to two decades with this sense of anxiety and uncertainty. It’s people like you that could help us overcome these circumstances.

I ask for your help in allowing over 800,000 young people called DREAMers to no longer live in constant anxiety and fear that they will and their families will be targetted, mistreated and abused at the hands of people who hold power over them.

Message to Congress and the President:

End of DACA and the need for a permanent solution for DREAMers is an issue that can no longer be delayed or ignored. The end of DACA on September 5th guaranteed this issue would be front and center for the next two years.

Each and every single day for the next two years employers across America will lose 1,200 employees from their workforce, who were only able to work because of DACA. Every day more co-workers, employers, and friends of DACA employees will add their voice to the already large moment across the country that’s demanding a solution to DREAMers.

If you think this issue is going away, you don’t understand the impact DACA has allowed DREAMers to have on all Americans. After 16 years of waiting, we will settle for nothing short of a permanent solution.