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Jessica Garcia Rodriguez

Tucson, Arizona

1. How has DACA helped you?

Living in Arizona with DACA has allowed me to continue with my routine each day without the threat of being questioned about my immigration status. Through the different challenges that we have faced in this state, as racist laws that target immigrants and people of color, now I have a driver license and I’m allowed to drive, pay in-state tuition and attend college. Now with having a 9-digit number, I was able to buy a car, afford a better place to live, pay for my health insurance, among other things. DACA allows me to continue to expand my academic, professional and personal goals.

2. What is the Real Dream for you?

Trump’s deportation machine is nothing new for our families, I have seen families torn apart because of their immigration status. There were over 3 million deportations under Pres. Obama administration, and I cannot imagine what those numbers will look like under 45’s administration. In the last couple of weeks, I have seen co-workers, my friends’ parents, and community members taken to detention centers by Border Patrol, leaving families without their main provider, and kids left out with their parents. I want to see the liberation of every person in this country, and around the world. We have to continue to push for more inclusive legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants. We cannot accept any legislation that criminalizes our immigrant families, people of color, and continue to damage our planet.

3. Why is it a bad idea for Congress to increase border militarization in exchange for the safety of your support system, family, friends and community members?

Increasing border militarization does not bring safety to our communities it only increases fear and trauma to our families.Our families, friends, and community members will continue to be criminalized. We refuse to be bargaining chips in their political games.

4. What are some of the difficulties you face as a Dreamer living in the Southern Border Region?

DACA does not take away the everyday fear from me and of my loved ones when we have to face Border Patrol or any law enforcement agency. There is not a time that I cross a checkpoint that I’m not sent to secondary inspection. Every single time, I’m interrogated and extensively question about my immigration status, even though they know I am a Dreamer. We have to stop cultivating fear in our communities, and start creating protections for every single immigrant.

5. Why are Dreamers important to the fabric of this country?

We play an important role in this country. We are in our schools, hospitals, stores, fields, offices. We are students, teachers, volunteers, engineers, nurses, doctors, and working class people. It goes beyond a large impact in our economy. We are human beings, and we are part of this country.

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