DACA Dreamers!

immigrant child

DACA Dreamers!

Si, se puede. Yes we can!

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Until recently, perhaps we were not as aware of this program as we should or could have been.

Part of my career I taught school administration in the Bilingual Cohort at California State University, Sacramento. I was Keynote Speaker and trainer many times for Migrant Education, Mini Corps. I worked in bilingual classrooms under Title Seven Grants in Sacramento and on the border, in San Ysidro, Ca. I was also privileged to be lead teacher several summers for residence Bilingual Institutes, at California State University.

I was mentored by Dr. Armando Ayala, big dreamer of dreams, my colleague who encouraged me to learn Spanish and understand culture and challenges, including some of the family situations now coming to the forefront in the DACA issue. I missed attending the Language Institute in Cuernavaca and admit my Spanish remains minimal. However, I am all about cabeza y corazon, head and heart. All my teaching situations were intended to motivate and help students of all ages and stages achieve their lofty dreams.

I guess I can just say my heart has always been in a special place with the enthusiastic young people I met, and taught with. There were always tears and so much love. I have no idea whether their parents were legal, illegal, citizens or not.

I had one contract in a border school I particularly relished. I stayed with the school Principal. Everyone spoke Spanish in her house. Total immersion. Every day their friend walked across the border from Mexico to stay with them, then walked back across the border at night. This was more common than I knew. Big issue.

America has always been a place of dreams, big and little, sometimes meshing together, sometimes not. Once in awhile we get what we want right away, sometimes our hopes and aspirations are deferred.

America is our country of dreams and dream makers, builders, movers and shakers. We all have opportunity to exercise our freedoms and leadership and this is one time I am requesting we come together, as a nation, on behalf of three quarters of a million young people, who know only America as home.

Thinking about children and young adults who know nothing other than this country. Who may be your child’s math teacher, or a fireman saving lives in Houston floods.

I understand the complexity of this subject and once again, this is held hostage in a political arena of bullies, back to Dr. Seuss’ “Butter Battle”. A time of walling in and out, isn’t that enough already? Reviewing paths to citizenship may call for a reform of some sort, but why ruin lives of 800,000 young people serving their country, this county in some helpful, meaningful capacity.

The numbers are truly staggering. It’s not simply 800,000 we’re talking about here. There are mamas, papa, tios, tias, hermanos, hermanas and so many family members potentially affected by this morass. Grandpas and grandmas, documented, undocumented, mixed families, some legal, some illegal, some who thought they were safe under DACA and now live under a shroud of fear.

Do we really want to show our lack of diversity, civil rights, compassion and true review of all ramifications and issues involved here, before a life altering decision is pronounced by governmental decision makers? Or deferred, causing months of humiliation, fraught with worry of deportation or mixed family deportation. And how would we, could we as a just nation deport the Dreamers who followed their program to the letter, who had near perfect records, not criminals or miscreants.

Children born in this country or brought as a baby or a little one, who know only America as home, being deported to an uncertain future in Venezuela or somewhere else. Interesting, Canada has already offered asylum to these young people.

I believe in legal immigration of course. I recognize the sacrifices and rocky paths so many have ventured through. My purpose tonight is simply to add thoughtfulness and compassion to something so important to us: our respect as a nation of learners, leaders showing our fiber and moral compass. Isn’t a wall enough? When will it end?

On this Labor Day I send an urgent request for diligence and laser-like focus on this important issue, dignity and respect for all residing on our shores.

DACA Dreamers. Thank you for your belief in the goodness of the American people to hear your pleas, share your stories and offer sanctuary until wiser people than me figure out what to do. In the meantime, everyone please slow down, gather your strength to weather the storm and find a most happy ending.

Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita

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