“We Want the Supreme Court to Know Whose Lives Are At Stake. We Want Them to See Our Home is Here.”
For Immediate Release
Contact: José Alonso Muñoz | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202.810.0746
Washington, D.C. – Today United We Dream launches a series of video biographies and stories of 27 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) filed in a first-of-its-kind Amicus Brief directly with the Supreme Court ahead of the November 12th hearing on Trump’s unlawful termination of the program.
As part of the Home is Here campaign, the series captures the journeys, struggles, and successes of United We Dream members from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and elsewhere who now live in Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Illinois,Maryland, California, and across the nation.
Yazmin Irazoqui Ruiz, a DACA recipient from Albuquerque, NM, said:
“As a queer, immigrant, woman of color living in a border state under Tump’s administration, DACA has been the only relief to the constant fear of deportation. DACA has also given me the opportunity to pursue higher education and achieve my dream of becoming a physician. Without DACA, I will not be able to practice as a physician despite graduating from medical school this coming spring. My story is only one of millions echoed across our nation from both DACA recipients and all undocumented people.”
The brief filed with the court goes on to explain and highlight how DACA has been transformational for those who received it:
“DACA has accomplished far more than affording deferred prosecutorial action. It has created life-changing opportunities for hundreds of thousands of promising young people. DACA has allowed them to lead fuller and more vibrant lives, including by seizing opportunities to advance their education, furthering their careers, providing critical help to their families, and giving back to their communities.”
Accompanying the written brief are five videos of Manny, Angelica, Sana, Maricruz, and Taz:
In Maryland, Emmanuel A., also known by his stage name MannyWellz, is a music artist who was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the United States at nine years old. After his father was deported, Manny had to look after his mom and younger siblings, even dropping out of college so that his sister could attend. With DACA, Manny’s career has bloomed, allowing him to grow a fan base domestically and internationally, and he even won a Grammy for the collaborative album American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom. He says, “At the end of the day, before being a judge, before being a pastor, a preacher, a soccer player […] Before being an immigrant in any country— you’re a human being. You’re human first.”
In Oklahoma, Angelica V. explains, “We got DACA, and it’s like we got wings.” She is an entrepreneur, an advocate for local businesses, and a mother to five children all born in Oklahoma. She immigrated to the United States in 1996 at 11 years old from Mexico. In the future, she hopes to open up her own mechanic and detailing business with her daughter. In January 2017, prior to Trump taking oath of office, Angelica asked then-House Speaker Paul Ryan if he believed people like her should be deported — Ryan said ‘no’ and speculated that Trump agreed and would not take away DACA.
Sana A. is a tech innovation designer, a New Yorker, and a Pakistani Muslim woman who immigrated to the United States from Saudi Arabia when she was 14 years old. Her family experienced deportation proceedings first-hand when her brother was racially profiled because of his skin color and name (his case was later dropped after he was granted DACA just like her). She explains, “I belong here […]I get the freedom to walk down the street and own my own narrative.” DACA has improved her mental and emotional health, allowed her to speak up for others, and even take care of her family, from paying for her siblings’ college tuition to soon purchasing a home that’s accessible to her father-in-law who is paraplegic.
Maricruz R. in Oregon is the daughter of an agricultural worker and a 3rd grade bilingual education teacher in the same school district she grew up in. She immigrated to the United States from Mexico at seven -years old and found a home in Oregon. Maricruz was in community college when DACA was announced; the program’s rollout is what motivated her to pursue her Bachelor’s degree and her profession, and she first taught at a Head Start program for toddlers. She is now pursuing her Master’s so that she can continue to serve her community. She adds, “Being a teacher means working long hours. Something that I work on is to make them feel like they [my students] belong here.”
Tasneem A. is a drama student in Oklahoma, an entrepreneur, Muslim, and an aspiring constitutional attorney. He immigrated to the United States at nine months old from Bangladesh and is the only person in his family who is undocumented. Taz’s first opportunities with DACA were being able to drive a car and work at fast food restaurants — a regular, teenage experience. Taz is actively involved in his community and is excited to give back to his parents and his hometown, but a future without DACA means uncertainty and deportation. He states, “Where somebody sees a lack of something, you can build something new. I still want to live here more than anything.”
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.