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Opinion Columns

Opinion: My family and I came here for a better life. Now we live in fear and limbo

When I was young, my family and I came to the United States from Mexico City. Like millions of other immigrants, my family and I traveled here in search of a better life.

We found one here in Colorado. Having left Mexico City at such a young age, Colorado is the only home I have ever truly known.

Fryda Faugier Ferreira

But now, our lives as we know it are at risk. I’m not alone — more than 18,500 Coloradans like me face an uncertain future, unsure if our lives will be uprooted and we’ll be forced from our only real home.

We are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and this Nov. 12, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the legality of the rescission of the program protecting us, with the potential to issue a decision as early as January 2020 terminating our protections.

If this happens, we could be separated from our homes, communities, jobs and country.

The DACA program, established in 2012, has given more than 700,000 DACA recipients across the country deportation protections and work and education authorizations. DACA has empowered us to come out of the shadows and create better lives for ourselves.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Thanks to DACA I was able to study International Studies, Socio-Legal Studies and Spanish at the University of Denver and become the first person in my family to graduate from college.

While in school, I had the incredible opportunity to serve as the first ever DACA/Undocumented Student Support Coordinator for the Center for Multicultural Excellence. It was in this role that I discovered my passion for education and activism as a result of my experience with DACA.

After graduation, I began work as a campus adviser at Metropolitan State University of Denver. This role provides the opportunity to help other students like me, DACA recipients, thrive and build their futures.

Unfortunately, due to the 2017 rescission and current limitations of the program, DACA has not been an option for many of the Colorado high school graduates I encounter.

Not having access to DACA protections is incredibly limiting for these students. It is devastating to see their heartbreak as they attempt to navigate complications around their status.

DACA has made all the difference for me, opening countless doors that would otherwise have been closed. As I work with my students, I see their incredible potential. They only need to be given an opportunity.

I wish for them to enjoy the same protections I’ve been given, that have allowed me to chase my dreams and live a life without fear of deportation. 

However, at the moment, I am afraid that they, along with those who already have DACA protections, will be separated from their families and forced to places they don’t even remember.

The Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the program over two years ago has left all of us living in fear and in limbo. None of us deserve this uncertainty. We need reassurance that all we have worked toward will be worth it and that we will be able to continue contributing to our communities and economy. 

This is only possible if permanent Dreamer protections are passed by Congress, which nearly nine in 10 Americans on both sides of the aisle support.

In order to do so, our elected officials must have the courage to stand up for Dreamers. Congress must show their bipartisan strength and set partisan squabbles aside and instead work to pass the permanent protections that America’s Dreamers have earned and desperately need.

I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Supreme Court’s oral arguments to make clear to Congress that our futures should not be dependent on a court ruling.

We should not have to wait for the courts to deliberate when Dreamers have such strong bipartisan support. We need our Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to continue to stand up for Dreamers. 

Our senators have a responsibility to work together and pass a bipartisan solution that finally protects us and enables us all to pursue our American Dream.

Across the country, the American people have clearly spoken, Dreamers deserve protections. It’s up to Congress to do the right thing and pass permanent protections before it is too late. 

Fryda Faugier Ferreira is a DACA recipient and serves as a Campus Adviser at Metropolitan State University of Denver for the Denver Scholarship Foundation.