PHOTO: Some young undocumented immigrants were granted deportation relief on June 15, 2012.

50 DREAMers Who Prove Deportation Relief Was Smart

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On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a new government program that would give deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants who met certain qualifications. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program offered DREAMers -- young people born abroad, but raised here -- a reprieve from deportation and a chance to get a work permit. More than 365,000 people have been approved to date, and more than half a million have applied, with lots of applications still being processed. DACA was a Band Aid, not a solution, however. The program isn't a law, it's the Obama administration using its authority to say that these deportations are not a priority. Another president could end it. On the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the program, we asked DREAMers who have been approved how it has changed their lives and what they think the next steps should be. Here's what they said: Note: Entries have been lightly edited for publication. Thanks to fellow Fusionistas Romina Puga and Emily DeRuy, who helped put this package together.

Erika Camarillo
Lives: Houston, Texas // Born: Mexico // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 8 // Works: Legal assistant, in the process of completing teaching certification DACA has given me a small sense of protection. I am not as scared to go about my daily routines, plus I can actually look for jobs using my degree. My parents and I worked so hard in order to obtain my education, and I will soon be able to use it. With DACA, I feel like I can stop dreaming and start living. What should Congress and the president do next? Congress needs to pass immigration reform. We are real people not just statistics. I am an American; I just need the documentation that says so.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Lucas Codognolla
Lives: Stamford, Connecticut // Born: Brazil // Age: 22 // Came to U.S.: 9 // Student: University of Connecticut // Works: Legal assistant to immigration attorney I was able to find a job in a field that I am interested in and complements my work as a "DREAM" activist. And finally get a driver's license! What should Congress and the president do next? Stop the deportation of innocent immigrants who are detained. Pass a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, pass immigration reform that does not discriminate or criminalize immigrants. DACA is not enough. Although it sort of legitimizes me more as an American, I won't stop fighting until my family and I are looked at as valuable contributing members of society.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Natalie Cruz
Lives: Chicago // Born: Guatemala // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 9 months old // Student: University of Illinois at Chicago // Works: Alterations specialist for Ana Lou Alterations, a business I am starting with my mom DACA has given me the opportunity to function like a normal 21-year-old in certain aspects. I can continue with school, I can peacefully work, go out and progress with my life without fear for myself. But the fear for my family's situation is still very real. What should Congress and the president do next? Congress needs to get a heart. Passing immigration reform is a no-brainer and the people of America are crying out for it, especially us DREAMers. My parents have officially lived in the United States longer than in Guatemala. Only nine months of my life was lived outside of here. This place is all I've ever known, and I wish [the law] could change.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Mayra Hidalgo Salazar
Lives: Lakeland, Florida // Born: Costa Rica // Student: Sarah Lawrence College I'm now able to go to college, work, drive and follow my dreams without fear. We need to pass an inclusive and fair immigration reform!
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Maria Sotomayor
Lives: Philadelphia // Born: Ecuador // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 9 // Works: Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition (PICC) Translated from Spanish To have options is something that I never had. From attending college to the type of work that I am able to do, DACA changed my life in many ways. Especially now that I graduated from college. Instead of graduating and returning to work in the same restaurant that I had been working in since I was 15, I could apply for work that [let me] continue to help my community and my family. I have been working at PICC as the deferred action coordinator and defending the rights of immigrants in Pennsylvania and in the country. Deferred action has given me hope to continue to move forward and continue with my dream to get a master's in the coming years. What should Congress and the president do next? Congress and President Obama need to work to pass an immigration reform that's fair for everyone. And the people that aren't able to apply for DACA because they weren't here or arrived after they were 16-years-old need a way to share the same rights that the DACAmenteds have.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Oday Guerrero
Lives: Fresno, California // Born: Mexico // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 4 // Occupation: Immigration/ACA Fellow at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation DACA has given me hope of a better future in which people can drive without fearing the police, can apply to whatever job they want, and can move more freely than before. I owe it to all of the undocumented youth activists and those before me who marched, protested, rallied, did hunger strikes so that I and others could have this privilege. Because President Obama did not make this happen, DREAMers made this happen. What should Congress and the president do next? DACA is not enough to protect us, we are still at risk of being deported and our families are even more exposed to deportations and anti-immigrant attacks. We need Congress and President Obama to pass a humane immigration reform. This is not a game, this is a human rights issue, and politicians need to stop playing with our lives.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Rene Diaz
Lives: New York City // Born: Dominican Republic // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 7 // School: Hunter College, graduated cum laude from Hunter with a bachelor's degree in sociology. I am able to work and become a contributing member of society while Congress works on a permanent fix. What should Congress and the president do next? Pass immigration reform or the DREAM Act! I have plans of continuing on to my master's and Ph.D but it can't be done without access to government student loans!
PHOTO: daca
Nadia Rojas
Lives: Davis, California // Born: Mexico // Age: 25 // Came to U.S.: 2 // School: UC Davis I graduated with a bachelor's degree in integrative biology and ethnic studies from UC Berkeley in 2009 but for years I couldn't work with my degree. I was depressed for a long time because I was working as a waitress after I graduated from college. Working as a waitress took a toll on my health, both physically and emotionally. I developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and yet I wouldn't quit because I felt I couldn't get another job and I needed to help out my family. Last month, I was approved for DACA and I recently graduated with a master's degree. I can finally work with both my degrees! What should Congress and the president do next? Obama and Congress need to pass fair immigration reform that focuses on reuniting families. My own family was separated through deportation. I haven't seen my older brother in six years and my mom in almost two years.
PHOTO: daca
Jocelyn Munguia
Lives: Wood Dale, Illinois // Born: Mexico // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 11 // Student: University of Illinois at Chicago // Works: Cashier It has allowed me to obtain a driver's license, which is key when driving anywhere. I live in DuPage County, a county that has the program 'Secure Communities' (S-Comm), allowing collaboration with the police and federal immigration officers (ICE). Because of this, many people are arrested and placed in deportation proceedings. Now I can drive knowing that if I get pulled over (for whatever reason) I won't be arrested for not having a license. Also, although DACA still doesn't permit undocumented students to receive any type of federal aid, it gave me a temporary work permit. What should Congress and the president do next? Stop all deportations and separation of families. #not1more
PHOTO: daca
Eduardo Rodriguez
Lives: Orange County, Iowa // Born: Mexico // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 1 // Occupation: Youth development manager Wow, it has changed everything. It hasn't really hit me yet, to be honest. I've been undocumented most of my life and I'm still getting use to the overwhelming options that have been opened up to me. The amazing thing about DACA is that it not only changes my life, but also the lives of my parents. The relief and joy that they feel has changed their attitudes and their spirits for the better. After all, the reason they came to this country was to see their children prosper, and DACA has definitely given me a chance at making their years of sacrifice worth it. What should Congress and the president do next? They should pass the immigration bill that the "Gang of Eight" in the Senate crafted.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Lorena Garcia-Diaz and family
Lives: Lilburn, Georgia // Born: Venezuela // Age: 28 // Came to U.S.: 11 // Works: Customer support, waiting to get nursing license I started going to school for the nursing program in 2010. At the time, I didn't know that I could not work as an RN because I wasn't going to be able to take my license test due to my legal status. However, I decided to continue through the program and hope that a hospital could sponsor me for a work visa. Halfway through nursing school, DACA came out. Knowing that I had all the requirements I applied in September. I actually got notice of approval the day of my last final, on May 3. I have now graduated and applied with the state board of nursing to take my test. They have given me authorization to test and will be taking it on June 27. Once I pass it, I will be an RN and be able to work as a nurse in any hospital. All thanks to DACA! What should Congress and the president do next? President Obama should first stop the deportations and separating families. Congress should pass immigration reform that includes a clear pathway to citizenship, giving a step ahead to those DREAMers approved for DACA.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Juan Escalante
Lives: Tallahassee, Florida // Born: Venezuela // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: age 11 // Student: Florida State University. Deferred action has provided me the with several distinct opportunities. I was able to secure a job that allows me to pay off my student debt, and that encourages me to continue my education. I am currently completing my application for a master's program at Florida State. My hopes are that I will continue to work, study and eventually be able to help support my family back in South Florida. What should Congress and the president do next? Stop the finger-pointing and pass meaningful legislation to address this complex issue. Both Congress and the president ought to take a good look at to how immigrant detention centers are being managed.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Claudia Quinonez
Lives: Silver Spring, Maryland // Age: 18 // Came to U.S.: 11 // Student: Montgomery College // Works: CASA de Maryland What should Congress and the president do next? Pass a comprehensive immigration reform that includes my mom and the original DREAMers -- our parents. I demand that the president pass an executive order that stops the deportations. It's not just that families are being destroyed. He has the power in his hands to change this situation, which is so unjust.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Natalia Riveros
Lives: Little Rock, Arkansas // Born: Argentina // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 13 // Works: Dental assistant Translated from Spanish How did DACA impact your life? I made a 360 turn! I couldn't believe it, so much time waiting only for a chance to exist and try this great country that we are part of and that we also want to see grow. It's incomparable, the peace that you get (although my parents still need that for themselves). I am able to continue my studies without problems and I have a job that I love. I've already been able to stop living in the shadows and having fear. Now I exist :) What should Congress and the president do next? Do something for our parents, who are the motor for us and the country. They also deserve the ability to be in the country without having to worry everyday if they're going to return to the house the next day. We can do this! Let's fight for a fair immigration reform for our luchadores!
PHOTO: daca
Ellen Da Silva
Lives: Boca Raton, Florida // Born: Brazil // Age: 25 // Came to the U.S.: 14 // Student: Florida Atlantic University DACA opened many doors to us DREAMers, but we can't be fully happy when the rest of our families still hide in the shadows and live in fear.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Delia Cruz Nochebuena
Lives: Dallas, Texas // Born: Mexico // Age: 18 // Came to U.S.: 4 // Student: University of Rochester // Works:: Teaching Trust intern DACA has given me the opportunity to be eligible for work study and also the ability to work doing what I love after college. What should Congress and the president do next? President Obama and Congress should approve a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who have met certain criteria that makes them responsible future citizens.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Cristina Padilla
Lives: Bloomington, Indiana // Born: Mexico // Age: 22 // Came to U.S.: 9 // Student: Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana // Works: Server DACA has drastically changed my life. I feel a billion tons taken off my shoulders every time I leave my house, knowing I won't be deported and separated from my family. I can now legally work and drive, which has given me a new sense of confidence I never had before. My life has been completely transformed. What should Congress and the president do next? Congress should pass a comprehensive immigration reform, with an appropriate solution for all of the DREAMers. In many states, DREAMers (like myself) aren't eligible for in-state tuition and therefore can't afford to go to school.
PHOTO: daca
Beatriz Miranda
Lives: Phoenix, Arizona // Born: Mexico // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 1 // Applying for jobs and starting school in the fall It's made my life better. I feel like I can now contribute to the only place I call home. I'm so excited to be going back to school. What should Congress and the president do next? Pass immigration reform. It's important to the original DREAMers, who are our parents. They just wanna work and contribute as well.
PHOTO: daca
Prudencio Merino
Lives: El Monte, California // Age: 22 // Came to U.S.: 7 // Student: California State University Dominguez Hills I am now able to drive legally and able to apply to jobs without having to worry about getting my employment status checked. What should Congress and the president do next? President Obama should keep pushing the House and the Senate [to get] immigration reform done by the end of this summer. The time is now, the immigration system is broken and it must get fixed.
PHOTO: daca
Diana Eusebio
Lives: New York, New York // Born: Mexico // Age: 16 // Came to U.S.: 6 // Student: Hostos Lincoln Academy of Science How has DACA impacted your life? Not much since I am still in school, but next year I plan to work to save money for college. What should Congress and the president do next? Stop the deportation of families.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Karla De La Torre
Lives: San Jose, California // Born: Mexico // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 4 // Student: Santa Clara University School of Law The day before my last final, I checked online and my immigration petition was finally approved. Two days after that I received the paper notice, and two days after that I received my employment verification card. I then went that Friday to the Social Security office and received my social for employment purposes. All of this comes after months and months of calls to immigration, inquiries and two meetings with congressional offices to figure out why my application was taking so long. The only response we were ever given is that this is new process and it can take up to a year. However, it was frustrating because January and February applicants were getting their cards before others like myself who had applied in August. In any case, once the pressure built, the ball got rolling pretty quickly. While my internship with a government agency was understanding about my situation, it was extremely stressful because of the lack of guidance I was given by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. What should Congress and the president do next? Realize that people who are willing to work hard and who are not criminals deserve to be here. An unjust law is no law at all.
PHOTO: daca
Daniel Garcia
Lives: Chicago, Illinois // Born: Colombia // Age: 25 // Came to U.S.: 8 // Works: Research assistant at the University of Chicago As a result of receiving DACA I have been able to get a part time job as a research assistant at the University of Chicago working on the National UnDACAmented Research Project, a project that has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the Irvine Foundation. What should Congress and the president do next? A more permanent solution needs to be created, either by the president or by Congress. They need to ensure that family unity is preserved.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Rehan Mallick
Lives: Houston, Texas // Born: Bangladesh // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 8 // Works: Research assistant at University of Houston and co-founder of ION Product and Music Studios I can get my master's in mechanical engineering, and be able to pay for it on my own. What should Congress and the president do next? Let me have a quick path to citizenship, so that I may enter the mechanical engineering workforce.
PHOTO: daca
Rogelio Gonzalez
Lives: Othello, Washington // Born: Mexico // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 3 months old // Student: Big Bend Community College // Works: McCain Foods as a stockroom clerk DACA has opened so many doors that were previously closed. My life was so difficult because I didn't have a Social Security number. With my new SS I was able to apply for many jobs. I used to work in the fields making only the minimum wage; my current job pays me $5 more an hour! My current job offers 100 percent tuition reimbursement, which will help me finish my education. I am so thankful and know many great things will come! What should Congress and the president do next? Definitely pass immigration reform.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Laura Bohorquez
Lives: Chicago // Born: Mexico // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 4 // Works: DREAM educational empowerment program coordinator, United We Dream DACA has given me additional hope and courage as I embark on my future as an undocumented immigrant, woman of color, daughter and family member in a mixed-status family, and a student affairs professional among other things. It has given me ease as I will be less financially stressed because now I will be able to earn a higher wage so that I can contribute to my family's and community's needs. What should Congress and the president do next? Congress and President Obama need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, they need to stop deporting and separating the very families that would benefit from such reform. Moreover, they need to listen to the stories of the youth, families, and communities that have been shattered and pushed into the shadows. We are a resilient and brave people, we will not stop until we have humane justice. Estamos en la lucha!
PHOTO: daca
Fred Diego
Lives: Hammond, Indiana // Born: Mexico // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 2 // Student: Indiana University Now that I have DACA, I can apply to law school or graduate school. Jobs and internships that I qualified for before are now real possibilities. I will never again have to work for minimum wage. What should Congress and the president do next? Legalize my parents. I can only do so much and they don't have Social Security.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Diego Sanchez
Lives: Fort Lauderdale, Florida // Age: 22 // Came to U.S.: 9 // Works: Senior research associate, Bridge Project DACA has allowed me to live free from fear of deportation and it has opened so many doors for me. What should Congress and the president do next? Pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that modernizes the current system and provides a roadmap to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the shadows.
PHOTO: daca
Cristina Hernandez
Lives: Phoenix, Arizona // Born: Mexico // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 11 // Student: Phoenix College // Works: Penalosa & Associates, Ross Dress for Less DACA has given me the opportunity to dream bigger and not settle for less of what I can do in life. Without DACA, I would have been stuck in a minimum-wage paying job. What should Congress and the president do next? Congress needs to pass a comprehensive immigration reform, a fair one that would not just make second-class citizens, but give us hope to become part of our country.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Maria Ubiergo
Lives: New York, New York // Born: Chile // Came to U.S.: 5 // Job: Interviewing for jobs in finance. Graduated CUNY Queens College with a master's in risk management What should Congress and the president do next? Congress needs to pass immigration reform, so our communities are no longer living in fear of deportation. It is unjust for a family to live apart because our current immigration system is outdated and broken. The common perception that undocumented workers do not contribute to the economy needs to be fixed. Our parents pay taxes, and they are the backbone of the economy that keeps America running.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Didier Jimenez
Lives: Hillsborough, New Jersey // Born: Costa Rica // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 8 // Job/College: Make a Wish Foundation I might not be an American on paper but I embrace it in my heart since this is all I know. What should Congress and the president do next? A path for me to become a citizen.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Jhosselin Fernandez
Lives: Margate, Florida // Age: 20 // Came to U.S.: 3 // Job: Legal assistant It gave me an opportunity to obtain my driver's license and to have a hope to apply to college at an in-state tuition rate. What should Congress and the president do next? They should approve comprehensive immigration reform to benefit the 11 million people that are undocumented. Not only is CIR going to help keep families together and build a better country, it will also improve the economy. Can you imagine how much profit the government would receive just in the penalties and fees alone? Now imagine how much more will the economy increase when we all start buying cars, houses, going to college and working.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Zaira Franco
Lives: New York, New York // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 7 // Occupation: Assistant account executive It has made me less frustrated and more optimistic about my opportunities in this country. What should Congress and the president do next? They need to get their act together and ensure a path to citizenship for DACA individuals as well as the million other undocumented persons in this country who work endless hours, have courageous hearts and big dreams.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Maria Alejo
Lives: Raleigh, North Carolina // Born: Mexico // Age: 20 // Came to U.S.: 2 // Student: Wake Tech Community College With DACA, I have been able to find a better job and have the opportunity to get a driver's license. What should Congress and the president do next? Obama needs to stop deporting people.
PHOTO: daca
Nicolas Wulff
Lives: Miami, Florida // Born: Colombia // Age: 22 // Came to U.S.: 5 // Student: Intern for United Auto Workers/ Student at Florida International University DACA has given me a sense of freedom that I have not had before. I am now able to legally work and have a steady income. I am also able to drive to work, to school, or drive my mother to wherever she has to go so that she doesn't have to risk getting pulled over with an expired license. I was really concerned before DACA passed because I was putting so much work and money into my education, and without a work permit, I wouldn't have been able to use my degree that I had worked so hard to obtain. DACA has given countless individuals hope that they did not have before and gave me a new direction in life that I had previously lacked. What should Congress and the president do next? DACA was a great first step but it is not the final solution. It does not grant a pathway towards citizenship and it can be taken away at the drop of a dime. The original DREAMers, our parents, were not included in DACA because of the age barrier, so comprehensive immigration reform is the only solution to solve this broken immigration system and provide a pathway towards legalization and ultimately citizenship for the 11 million undocumented Americans living in the United States.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Estela Martinez
Lives: Marietta, Georgia // Born: Mexico // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 9 // Works: Owner of EMG Landscaping, secretary at St. Thomas the Apostle Church I was able to start my own business, get a license and live in peace, even if it's for just two years. What should Congress and the president do next? Pass comprehensive immigration reform so our parents can live in peace, drive with a license and be able to live the American dream.
PHOTO: daca
Viviana Sanchez
Lives: Queens, New York // Born: Ecuador // Age: 20 // Came to U.S.: 5 // Student: York College // Works: Intern at Kaplan With DACA, I have felt empowered to keep on fighting for the immigrant community. I recently have found my first job. I will be working with Kaplan as an intern within their company. The job consists of outreaching and supporting DREAMers with their educational goals What should Congress and the president do next? Pass a humane immigration reform. Give financial aid to all students.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Leezia Dhalla
Lives: San Antonio, Texas // Born: Canada // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 6 // Job: tech company Obama announced DACA on the exact day I was sitting at my college graduation ceremony. In July, I became one of the first 25 people in the country to receive deferred action status. My work permit arrived in August.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Carolina Contreras
Lives: Franklin Square, New York // Born: Chile // Age: 22 // Came to U.S.: 11 // Works: Modifications specialist/ current master's student in school counseling at Hunter College DACA has given me the opportunity to plan the next two years of my life. It has given me the opportunity to apply to graduate school to the program of my choice. To follow my career and my dreams without being held back due to the lack of a Social Security number. It has given me the opportunity to live a slightly more normal life, to have an ID, to drive, to have a good job. Most importantly, DACA allowed me to have hope, to fight harder for others, and to love this country more than I ever had. What should Congress and the president do next? Congress should leave politics aside, listen to our stories and do what is best not only for us DREAMers or undocumented immigrants, but for the country. They should together draft a bill that is fair. We are not asking to blindly allow every undocumented immigrant to become a citizen, but with good background checks, let deserving undocumented immigrants have a chance to legally live, work, travel and study in the country they chose to live in.
PHOTO: daca
Yesica Hernandez
Lives: Allentown, Pennsylvania// Born: Mexico // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 3 I don't live in fear anymore, at least for myself. I am able to drive my children to school, appointments and any other place. What should Congress and the president do next? They need to agree on a immigration reform for the rest of us that are still struggling here.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Rubi Torres
Lives: Great Bend, Kansas // Born: Mexico // Age: 20 // Came to U.S.: 5 // Student: Newman University DACA has been life changing, and I know I can say that on my part and every DREAMer. As a cross-country runner for my school, I can travel with the team everywhere we go, including Laredo, Texas. And I can work to help pay for my school and soon apply for a nursing program and begin working in a hospital. I hope the government stays persistent and continues taking action for those that work hard and who haven't given up on their dreams.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Yovany Diaz
Lives: Alpharetta, Georgia // Born: Mexico // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 8 // Occupation: Costco employee What should Congress and the president do next? Stop the deportations.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Mirel Hernandez
Lives: Pleasanton, California // Born: Mexico // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 14 // Student: Brigham Young University I've been living the dream and I couldn't be happier. I feel so grateful for being able to be a licensed driver, pay taxes with my very own Social Security number, and to be about to start pre-nursing school in the university of my dreams. What should Congress and the president do next? Pass comprehensive immigration reform!
PHOTO: daca
Carla Torres
Lives: Northridge, California // Born: Mexico // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 7 months // Student: Cal State Los Angeles It allows me to not be afraid anymore. I have a license now and I can legitimately work. I don't have to be in a state of panic every time my employer wants to speak in private or when I see the police driving around. It just opened up so many possibilities that weren't available before. What should Congress and the president do next? They need to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Although I appreciate what DACA has given me, it can be taken away at any moment. We're not asking for special treatment, we are asking to be the same as everyone else. We strive for normal.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Jael Lagos
Lives: Homestead, Florida // Born: Honduras // Age: 18 // Came to U.S.: 8 It has given me hope, in the sense that I can now have my driver's license and hopefully even apply for scholarships as soon as I get out of the program that I am currently attending. What should Congress and the president do next? I believe that a solution to the problem needs to be presented. We can no longer live in fear of leaving our houses to go to work or school. My family and I as well as other friends and family in the same situation are not asking for much, a simple license would be a solution that would control the situation. I'm not saying that it would eliminate the problem, but at least it would calm the situation just a little.
PHOTO: daca
Erika Andiola
Lives:Mesa, Arizona // Born: Mexico // Age: 25 // Came to U.S.: 11 // Occupation: U.S. House of Representative I have been able to find a job to help support my mother, who currently is not able to work after an immigration raid. What should Congress and the president do next? Pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Laura Coache
Lives: Palm Coast, Florida // Born: Mexico // Age: 26 // Came to U.S.: 6 // Works: Medical coder/biller Translated from Spanish It opened doors and gave me opportunities that had been on hold for almost 10 years of my life. But in the end, it's given me another opportunity to dream. My life made a 360 degree turn. Congress needs to realize and pass comprehensive reform and the president needs to continue taking leadership on the issue of reform and continue pressing.
PHOTO: daca
Arely Hoyos
Lives: Chelsea, Massachusetts // Born: Mexico // Age: 24 // Came to U.S.: 9 // Works: Metro Credit Union I got my license, Social Security number and I am now a teller at a credit union. I am now able to help my husband and raise my son better. What should Congress and the president do next? President Obama should allow us to leave the country so we can see our closest relatives, and be able to come back with no problems. I haven't seen my parents for eight years and my mother is very sick, and it kills me because I can't do anything to help! I can't leave the country to go take care of her because I have my son here, and just like I need my mom, he needs me.
PHOTO: daca
Raul Reyes
Lives: Portland // Born: Mexico // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 12 // Works: Technical support engineer I have been able to get a job after graduating from college. To Congress and the president: Pass comprehensive immigration reform.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Sandy Alcala
Lives: Byhalia, Mississippi // Born: Mexico // Age: 21 // Came to U.S.: 7 I can now drive without fear. What should Congress and the president do next? Work on reuniting families. It's really important to keep fighting. Rome wasn't built in a day <3
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
Ileana Salinas
Lives: Phoenix, Arizona // Born: Mexico // Age: 23 // Came to U.S.: 15 // Works: Arizona Worker Rights Center Now I am able to contribute to my parents. I can have a stable job and save for my future. I still cannot obtain an Arizona license but I remain involved with the Arizona Dream Act Coalition to support the lawsuit against Gov. Brewer. What should Congress and the president do next? The Senate needs to pass a strong and humane immigration reform bill with strong bipartisanship before July 4. President Obama should make the executive decision to stop the deportations of low-priority immigrants to prevent more family separations.
PHOTO: A program giving deportation relief to young undocumented immigrants was first announced on June 15, 2012.
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