Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

GUEST COLUMN: Time running out for Dreamers and DACA

By: Daniela Gomezcastro
January 20, 2018 Updated: January 20, 2018 at 4:05 am
0
photo -

It's hard for me to imagine living anywhere other than Colorado. I grew up in Aurora, and I love the outdoors.

My favorite place to ski is Copper Mountain, where I've been going since I was a kid, and my favorite hiking spot is the Flatirons at Boulder, where you can climb to the very top and sit under this little arc of a rock and see all of the city and the mountains.

But now I'm afraid of losing this life.

I have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a program that gives undocumented young people who came to this country as children temporary permission to work and live here. President Donald Trump has terminated the program, saying it's the responsibility of Congress to find an alternative.

Now I'm depending on the Dream Act, a bill that would give people like me a path to citizenship. If it doesn't pass, I could lose my ability to work and could even be deported.

That's why I'm asking my representative, Congressman Mike Coffman, to use his power to pass this bill now and make sure the nearly 17,300 young people with DACA in Colorado can continue working and contributing to the only home we know.

DACA made my life today possible. I was born in Mexico City, and my family came to Aurora when I was 1 year old. In many ways, my life was like any other kid here. I was on a cheerleading team for young kids, and I played volleyball starting in Laredo Middle School.

I never knew I was undocumented.

In high school, I filled out the paperwork for DACA, but I didn't fully understand the consequences of my immigration status.

Then when it was time to apply for college, a guidance counselor told me that I wouldn't be eligible for federal financial aid. I was shocked and heartbroken.

Still, right away, my DACA gave me the protection to speak out. I talked to admissions officials and scholarship administrators about my status and figured out a way to attend the University of Colorado at Denver.

I'm a naturally shy person, but at school, I became president of CU DREAMers, a campus organization for undocumented students and allies, and I also have a job at the Office of Undocumented Student Services. I work hard to try to create community here and make our students feel safe.

I also work as a certified nurse assistant in a rehabilitation center for elderly people and do volunteer work through my sorority, Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority Inc. - feeding the homeless at Thanksgiving and preparing baskets of food for Christmas.

I'm majoring in public health, and I hope to someday get my Ph.D. and help increase access to basic health care for marginalized communities.

I've spent years leading the way for others to show them they can succeed - but what if I let them down? What if I can't accomplish anything and neither can they?

Ultimately, all we want to do is have the opportunity to work, make our parents, brothers and sisters proud, build a better world for our children and contribute to our communities in a way that will better America.

I would like to say to Congressman Coffman: I have been part of this community for 19 years.

It has made me who I am, and I am giving back in every way I know how. I and the 17,300 DACA recipients in this state need your support. Congressmen, we are hard workers who pay our taxes and contribute to the only home we know. We're service providers, we're moms and dads, we're students, coworkers and neighbors. We are part of this place, and people here need us. Please use your power to pass the Dream Act now. Time for people like me is running out.

-

Daniela Gomezcastro is president of the University of Colorado Denver DREAMers, a campus organization for undocumented students and allies. She also works at the university's Office of Undocumented Student Services.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.