Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I Was a Stranger, Day 14: Dreamers


These four young people are dreamers, literally and figuratively. They are enrolled in President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which makes it possible for 750,000 people to contribute fully to our society by driving and working legally. But now under the new administration, all of that is at risk. DACA participants have been detained in custody for no reason.

Worried after the election, Zaira Flores bravely decided to channel her fears into action. Now 25, she's lived in Oregon since she was 6. She graduated from PSU with a degree in economics. Under the DACA program, she has to reapply every 2 years and pay $495 (and $60 for a new driver's license every 2 years) or risk being deported. It's a scary time, especially not knowing what will happen with DACA.

I got the fortune to meet Zaira on Sunday when she visited our church. Zaira and her friends decided to write letters to our Oregon congresspeople to ask them to advocate for the DACA program. They mailed 200 letters in purple envelopes (the color of hope) earlier this year and recently delivered letters in person to Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Kurt Schrader, who said:
"Every one of these stories matters and needs to be shared. Recent policies from the new administration will only serve to tear families apart (and) destroy American businesses. Oregon isn't going to turn its back on our immigrant community, and neither will I."
This grassroots group (featured on the front page of the Oregonian) is asking for supporters to get involved by writing their own letters. Email your letter to purpledacaletters@gmail.com, and they will put your letter in a purple envelope and deliver them to our representatives.
With Senator Ron Wyden
As Zaira shared with the Oregonian reporter,
"For a long time, I felt like I was alone. I thought people didn't care or didn't know. But the response we're getting is so reassuring. We are scared. We're putting ourselves at risk, publicly saying we have DACA. But people are letting us know we are not alone. Our community cares for us."
I'm writing my purple letter today! 

Read more of my "I Was a Stranger" entries here.

6 comments:

  1. Great Blog Post Marie and thanks for sharing this info on facebook too. finally found the email address so now i know where to send my 'in support of DACA' letter. Thanks! - Nadine

    Nadine Lefkowitz, Topanien Global Gifts

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    1. Thank you so much for your support, Nadine!

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  2. Thank you Marie for sharing my story and the #purpleDACAletter Campaign. I'm glad I was able to join you Sunday! The entire message of that day touched my heart and I kept sharing how Sarah and Abraham were also immigrants with my family. I'd read their story before but never had I made the connection that they were immigrant just like me, until last Sunday!

    Much love and thank you for the immense support from you and the church family!

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    1. It was such an honor to meet you, Zaira, and we are so happy to support you. People like are you are truly what make America great. Hugs to you!

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  3. Many of us forget we were all strangers. I do not recall the American Indians posting a sign at the coast of Massachusetts stating "No immigrants welcome". A few years ago I was standing in a store lobby waiting for the store to open. When two Spanish women entered the "white" woman standing next to me remarked: "We will soon be taken over by the Hispanics". I asked her: "And from whom did we take this country?" She looked at me in amazement!

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    1. Yes, you are absolutely right! We are all immigrants, except for true Native Americans.

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