There’s an entire family that I’m waiting to meet in Mexico. A piece of paper is hindering me from being able to meet them.
My name is Joscelin Reyes and I live in the Greater Houston area with my husband, whom I have been married to for 2.5 years now. I was born in a small town in the state of Guanajuato located in central Mexico in 1995.
I am a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient and have been since 2012 when Obama signed the executive order.
My Family’s Hopes of the American Dream
My mother brought my siblings and me to the U.S. in 1998 when I was only 2 years old. My father had already lived here for over a year before we joined him. Originally, my dad planned on staying in the U.S. for a few years and then heading back home to Guanajuato. My parents quickly realized how much better our financial stability could be with the opportunities my dad had in America. After much thought, my parents decided that my mom would now also start the journey to get to where my dad was. They hoped to someday achieve the American Dream, to simply give their children a better opportunity at life.
My parents both come from the same small town and have always had the same determination to beat all odds that ever came across them. Unfortunately, my parents had to quit school at a very young age because they needed to help support their own parents, and give up their own dream careers so that their families could afford their lives. I always try to keep those sacrificed dreams at the forefront of my mind, remembering all that my parents had to sacrifice for their family so that I could be where I’m at now.
I understand now as a young adult how difficult it must have been for my parents to acclimate to an entirely new society, not knowing the language, and having to send their three children to schools where they couldn’t even communicate with the teachers. Once the frustration of not understanding the language around here set in, my mom quickly made the decision to start attending English courses to learn. She wanted to learn so she could simply communicate with her children and understand what they were saying in her own home.
I’m proud to say that my mom officially completed her GED test and passed it at the end of 2021. The passion that my parents have had to succeed in this life has always been one of my core motivations in everything that I do in my own life.
Thanks to them, I’ve been able to graduate high school and complete an associate’s degree, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Sciences. I simply owe it all to my parents and the sacrifices that they’ve made.
There have been quite difficult circumstances since moving from Mexico to the U.S. As a child, I felt misunderstood in the schools I attended. I always wondered why my home life was much different than those of my peers. My mom was always sure to remind me that I wasn’t like my peers, and she strived to make sure that I didn’t forget the culture that I come from.
My family has experienced racism, they’ve been criticized for not being able to speak the language, and have worked really tough jobs since coming to the U.S. But knowing my parent’s hearts, I know they’d do it over and over again just to see their family overcome.
DACA Gave Me Hope
I still remember the moment that DACA came into effect on August 15, 2012. I was sitting in the living room watching the news with my mom. I think I
merely understood what was happening and how it would affect my entire life. At the time, I was barely old enough to get a job, so I didn’t realize what this would mean for me.
As for my older brother, he had been waiting for almost a year for this moment. My brother was already a college graduate and had been working “under the table” for a few months because, without an ID or a social security number, he wasn’t going to be able to build his career with the degree he worked so hard to achieve.
This is why my mom cried during this moment of watching Obama give the announcement about DACA. I remember hugging her because I knew that if my mom was so moved by this moment, it had to mean something special for us as a family.
Weeks after that we started to file all of our paperwork with our lawyer, and now, my siblings and I have been renewing our DACA applications for 10 years now.
The United States has been home to me over the last 24 years, and every time someone asks me where I’m from, I’m tempted to say “Texas.” I stumble over the answer though, as I pause and say, “I was born in Mexico but raised in Texas all of my life.” I am not ashamed of where I come from; I simply have to remember each time someone asks, that there’s another country listed on my birth certificate that I have little to no knowledge about.
My hope is that soon, very soon, I’ll be able to visit my first home. Until then, I’ll keep waiting patiently.
How to Respond: Stand With Dreamers
The overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians—along with most Americans overall, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—want Congress to provide permanent protections for “Dreamers,” young immigrants brought as children to the U.S.
The only way for Dreamers, like Joscelin, to ultimately have stability is for Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution. In February 2023, the bipartisan Dream Act of 2023 was introduced into the Senate. Our elected officials are much more likely to vote for this solution if they are convinced that their constituents see it as a priority.
Ask your Members of Congress today to stand up for Dreamers, passing legislation that would allow immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to receive permanent protections to live and work here without fears of deportation. Click here to stand with Dreamers today!