By: Allison Posner
In the month since the President announced the policy to grant Deferred Action to DREAMers, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with many extraordinary and inspiring young people. From the young woman whose family got legal “help” from someone who only filed papers for the parents but not their children, to the Ivy Leaguer who, when he learned he was undocumented, began reading the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to search for answers, every one of the young high school students and graduates that I have met has expressed the same feeling – hope.
They have always had hope -- even when many of the more seasoned advocates around them despaired -- that by working together, supporting each other and developing as leaders, they would find a way to bring about change. Now their hope is for a future which can include schooling and employment, not deportation and separation from their families and the only way of life they have ever known.
At CLINIC, we have hope for these young people too. But there are still so many questions yet to be answered. What will happen to them after they turn 30? Will they ever be able to get a green card or become a citizen? This is where CLINIC and other advocates come in. We’re working with the Administration to share the concerns of the DREAMers and our affiliates about how the policy should be implemented. We’re working with service providers, religious communities, high schools, colleges and others interested in social justice and immigration to educate their communities and prepare to meet the need when it comes time to apply.
I’ve met hundreds of DREAMers, and I’ve been inspired by each of them. And I continue to be driven by the knowledge that there are literally a million more just like them – students who have learned not to let politics or fear deter them and who feel blessed by the simple opportunity to to live the lives their parents worked so hard to give them.
*Allison Posner is the Director of the Center for Immigrant Rights at CLINIC