DACA Recipients ‘Know No Home But Ours’

Print Share on LinkedIn Comments More
Hundreds of people gather in front of the John H. Wood Federal Courthouse to protest the Trump administration's decision to end DACA.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Hundreds of people gather in front of the John H. Wood Federal Courthouse to protest the Trump administration's push to end DACA in September 2017.

Several years ago, I attended the First Supper, a community potluck for the Texas DREAM Act hunger strikers. A good friend, whose parents immigrated from Mexico and started their own business in San Antonio, invited me.

My friend was born here, and like many other families I knew growing up, her parents became U.S. citizens in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan’s amnesty initiative. Immigrants continued to cross into the United States, especially following the peso crash of the early 1990s, but they stayed in the shadows.

Unfortunately, their children did, too.

The proposed DREAM Act would have opened a path to the American dream for these young people.

That night, a Mexican-American filmmaker showed us a preview of his forthcoming film, a story depicting the true life – the challenges, hard work, and contributions – of immigrants in the U.S. “Before we can change minds,” he said, “we must change hearts.”

The film did not change enough hearts, or perhaps not the right ones, because the DREAM Act failed. While DACA was not the comprehensive immigration reform we needed, it allowed dreams to come true, thanks to former President Barack Obama taking the initiative.

Today, we are still without comprehensive reform and also without DACA.

I, too, am a Mexican immigrant. But I was lucky. My parents applied for green cards in 1971 and waited five years to receive them. Time is a luxury not all immigrants have. Lack of economic opportunity continues throughout many parts of Mexico and Central America. Even more devastating is the drug-related violence and extortion so many families are fleeing.

Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (D7) speaks at the San Antonio-Mexico Friendship Council reception in honor of Ambassador Reyna Torres Mendivil at the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (D7) speaks at the San Antonio-Mexico Friendship Council reception in honor of Ambassador Reyna Torres Mendívil.

By 1976, we had our green cards and traveled the six hours from Monterrey to San Antonio, our adopted new home. We did not know the language. But neither did we fear being deported – and I am grateful for that.

I applied for U.S. citizenship as soon as I turned 18, and a world of opportunities opened up for me. One of them was participating in a Fulbright Fellowship focused on binational business in Mexico. While there, I toured the state of Jalisco with an economic development advisor who had tremendous passion for his job. He lamented his state’s labor drain to the U.S.

“They leave after we have invested in schooling and childhood social programs, once they are ready to work,” he said. “And the ones who leave, they are the hardest working, the risk takers, the ones we want in our labor force and helping to build our economy.”

His mission was to create economic opportunities to entice them to stay.

Today, it’s as if the tables are turned. We are losing those who chose to serve in our military, who are educating themselves on U.S. campuses, who were bold and tenacious enough to navigate the immigration system – the hard workers, the fighters, the dreamers.

I am somewhat encouraged by President Donald Trump’s statements this week about wanting to protect Dreamers. But these statements are so at odds with his previous indifference toward these young people and their loved ones that I wonder if his sentiments won’t swing once again against Dreamers. I truly hope they don’t.

But whatever action the president and Congress take, these are the facts about our Dreamers:

They know no home but ours. They are American. And with the right paperwork, they would be no different from me.

9 thoughts on “DACA Recipients ‘Know No Home But Ours’

  1. Didn’t Reagan’s initiative legalize 3+ Million illegals ? How many amnesty initiatives should be provided to people who break the law ?

  2. I dont think we should have daca because it gives the illegals free school and American kids can’t have free school this is wrong u should leave office and go back home to Mexico

  3. We have been tearing down the wrong statues. It’s time to remove the Statue of Liberty. Her beacon-hand no longer stands for world-wide welcome. Even though she was built as a gift from France to commemorate the perseverance of freedom and democracy in the United States, and to honor the work of Abraham Lincoln, this concept no longer exists in the hearts of many Americans.

    When the Reveleys arrived in 1765, they were called immigrants, not illegals. They became patriots, and through the years the family spread across America and became farmers, potters, preachers, doctors, and lawyers.

    Given the same opportunity, these young people in the middle of the present controversy are striving to better themselves and become better Americans. They deserve the chance.

  4. So, your family did not break our laws to come here. They did the right thing, but you think we should constantly allow people to disregard our laws. A country has the right and obligation to protect its borders and to bring in, in a measured way, new immigrants. I blame businesses too, who needed the undocumented’s labor and did not procure a means for them to get documents by appealing to the goverment for legal status, for them. Bottom line for me is why are we continually allowing for amnesty and Congress is never doing their job in changing the law and the executive has failed to enforce laws on the books.
    In the 80’s my dad was county attorney of a very small county in Kansas. 3 illegials were dumped in his county in the middle of winter in short sleeved t-shirts. Authorities kept dumping them on the next county line. My father thought this was wrong as they were suffering from the cold, but could get no one from immigration to pick them up. He even called the White House and was hung up on. This was during the Reagan administration. Was it right to let these men suffer? Was it right for them to disregard our laws? I am sorry, for me, this is cut and dried. It is insulting for people to come here and break our laws. I welcome anyone who enters our country legally. I thank your family for respecting our laws and doing the right thing.

  5. PLEASE! Help the DREAMERS.!!!!!!. Also thanks for the news Letters keep them coming, Me and wife will support you all the way Thanks again.

  6. The Congress must change our immigration laws. Dreamers will never be truly free under a simple act of a president. I have contacted my representatives. Others need to do the same whether you believe Dreamers should be allowed to stay here or not. At the same time, we must begin to seriously enforce our laws as to how people enter this country so that we will not have generation after generation of this same conflict concerning the children. It is not fair to these children, and is not fair to our citizens to ignore the laws. Legal immigration is what our country is all about. If the laws are deened unfair, work to change them, but don’t ignore them.

  7. I do not believe a City Council representative should be involved in an opinion for a few, she should concentrate on ALL of the better good for ALL citizens in San Antonio. This includes the LEGAL laborers that DO NOT want illegals here taking their meager wages away from them, at least until they are of the same status – LEGAL CITIZEN. I hope her biased comments are heard throughout her Council District, and she does not get re-elected due to her complete bias toward a certain people. I have heard her comment from the dais at City Council meetings addressing activist “Graciela” commending her for being at all City Council meetings and speaking up about San Antonio (Mexican) heritage, but I have never heard a kind word said about City activist, Jack M. Finger, from ANY council member – shame on you trying to push your agenda of bias on ALL peoples.
    Back to DACA, put the shoe on the other foot. If you tried to sneak into Mexico, do you think they would try to protect you and give you food, shelter, and FREE medical care?????????????????????????????? Ha! NOT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *