Everything I Am Today, I Owe to The Original DREAMer, MY MOM

Last night, the government shut down for a brief period of time, and President Trump signed a budget agreement that did not include protections for DACA recipients.

Mr. President and members of Congress, your unwillingness to come up with a DACA fix is endangering the lives of some of the most vulnerable, yet most courageous people in our globalized world. People do not willingly leave their country of origin on a whim. They come because they have to — because physical threats or a lack of opportunity prevent them from living up to their fullest potential. Undocumented immigrants, like my mom, came to this country in hopes of fulfilling that potential.

My mom: the original DREAMer in my book is one of the many who came before the DREAM Act was introduced. To me, she’s an original game changer and change maker. She’s the one who did not attend kindergarten because she was working in the fields of California’s Central Valley at the age of five, yet put herself through college, received a master’s degree, and became a kindergarten teacher. She has lived up to her fullest potential.

My mom is the woman who nearly 25 years after first coming to the United States became a citizen. She is the woman who gave everything she had so that her children would never have to face the obstacles she did and would never doubt that they could live to their fullest potential.

She isn’t the only one. There are countless other DREAMers and undocumented immigrants throughout the United States whose ability to make a life in this country depends upon legal protections. Everything that I am today – a Harvard student, a civically engaged young woman, an independent decision maker – I owe to my mom: the original DREAMer. This is why I demand a #cleanDREAMact.

I took this picture at the first Women’s March to celebrate a woman who embodies the words “girl power” and has shown me the resilience of immigrants in America. Congress, Mr. President, this is the face of the countless others who live in fear of deportation. They have dreams just as she did. We need a DREAM Act that supports those dreams. We need a #DREAMact now.

What do you think?

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Lauren Anderson

Lauren Anderson

A native of Whittier, California, Lauren Anderson is currently a freshman at Harvard College where she is majoring Social Studies and pursuing a language citation in Spanish. Having grown up in an immigrant community, Lauren saw first-hand the effects of incoherent immigration policies in people’s daily lives. She is passionate about reducing educational inequality and immigration reform. Lauren hopes to attend law school and become a civil rights attorney who specializes in these issues.

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