Ana is a member of the Women of Welcome community and a DACA recipient. She graciously shared her story with us about how she recently reunited with her family. As a Dreamer, she is not able to leave the country without special permission, called advance parole, without fear of not being able to return home to the United States. She recently traveled to Mexico for the first time in 22 years through advance parole. She says, “I’m so thankful to God for allowing me to hold my loved ones again!” This is her story in her own words:
A Long-Awaited Journey
This is what comprehensive immigration reform can look like: me hugging my grandmother after 22 years. You can imagine how much we cried. She had no idea I was traveling to Mexico. I surprised her as a lady who was delivering flowers. When she saw me, she couldn’t believe it was really me. The last memory I had of my grandmother was her dropping me off in Tijuana, my grandfather embracing her as we drove away into that rainy night, into our inevitable destiny. I promised I would return soon but I was naive and didn’t understand that she was crying because she knew very well I wouldn’t. She knew very well that the United States would offer me a better and safer life, an education, and a more promising future.
The Journey Many Others Cannot Make
During my trip to Mexico, I got to hear this same story often: about someone who left and has not returned. People would ask me about their family members in “el Norte” (the north). I would share what I knew. Mothers whose children left 15, 20, or 30 years ago. Grandmothers who have never met their grandchildren.
One day I met an elderly man who couldn’t see, he had gone blind a few years ago. He asked about his son as he held my hand, his hands so soft, so shaky. I told him he was doing well. With sadness on his face, he shared that he hadn’t seen him in almost 30 years and even if he were to return he would never see him again (my empathetic heart completely shattered)
These were the kind of stories I returned home with. These are the people I think about when I think about immigration reform. This year is the closest we’ve been to any kind of reform. And polls show that a vast majority of Americans do support some kind of immigration reform. Please, I urge you to call your senators. This Dreamer would love a pathway to citizenship so I can travel to México every single year and be able to return home.
The Difference You Can Make
Maybe you’ve heard about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the Dreamers who benefit from the program. You’ve read the headlines about policies and the need for legislation to allow Dreamers to pursue citizenship. But what’s it really like to be a Dreamer?
Tune in to the recent conversation
we had with another community member, Nori. Hear directly from her about what it’s like living with uncertainty about her future. She shares about immigrating to the U.S. and later learning she didn’t have legal status. How has it affected her family, her hopes and dreams, and how she sees others? Where has she seen God at work in her life?
Then, raise your voice! The only way for Dreamers like Ana 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.