What’s the Point?
Nori had been a straight-A student, but she didn’t care about school anymore. What was the point? She looked around at her classmates goofing off. They didn’t realize how lucky they were; their education was guaranteed because they were born in the United States. Yet Nori lived in constant uncertainty, never knowing what was going to happen the next day.
She had finally realized, at age 14, that her family didn’t have the proper documentation to live legally in the U.S. Utah was the only home she remembered, all she’d ever known. Her plans to get a license, a job to help her family pay the bills, and go to college were now all just dreams that wouldn’t be realized.
The Decision to Leave
When Nori was four her parents decided to leave their home country of Venezuela, which was headed for political turmoil and economic collapse. They had a couple of family members who had already made the move and helped them understand their options. Political asylum wasn’t an option at that time, so overstaying a tourist visa was the only opportunity to stay in the U.S.
Nori says when they left her parents told her they were going to Disneyland. They didn’t make it to Disneyland until she was 12 but by then she understood that Utah was her new home. When she understood they were there without the proper documentation, she lost hope for her future.
Shortly after this realization then-President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as an executive order. DACA allowed certain individuals brought to the country as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit and license in the U.S. Nori, a sophomore in high school, and her older brother, qualified because of their age.
Out of the Shadows
“DACA happened at the perfect time to save me from that darkness,” she says of the despair she felt at the time she realized her future in the U.S. was in jeopardy. It helped propel her forward. She had to relearn to love learning and working hard in school. She studied what was happening in Venezuela, a country she didn’t remember. She needed peace about the decision her parents had made.
“I am confident God led them out of Venezuela at an early time so they wouldn’t have to face all the trials that my family there is having to face now,” she says. The terrible conditions in Venezuela—where 96 percent live in poverty and face one of the highest murder rates in the world—have now resulted in approval for most political asylum cases and the ability to easily get work permits in the U.S.
Nori says she’s grateful they can help more family arrive, but she wishes this had been the case when her parents came. While she is now studying in college and able to work, her parents still have no way to work legally or have a valid license. “DACA was a God-send really,” says Nori. She looks forward to the day when her parents no longer have to live in the shadows and she can have permanent resident status.
Respond: Unmute Yourself, Support Dreamers
Polls show that the overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians—along with most Americans overall, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—want Congress to permanently resolve the situations of “Dreamers,” young immigrants brought as children to the U.S.
The only way for these young people to ultimately have stability is for Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution. The House recently passed such a bill, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Senators are much more likely to vote for a solution for Dreamers if they are convinced that their constituents see it as a priority.
Ask your Senators today to stand up for Dreamers, passing legislation that would allow immigrants brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Catch up on the rest of Nori’s journey in: