To dream is to 'contemplate the possibility'. It is all about hoping and wishing for something to happen or be in the future. That is what the almost million young immigrants we call 'dreamers' strive to do every day. They are not only dreaming of a life where they can achieve their very best and contribute to a better America, but many are working every day in school and at work to make our communities better places to live. They are the definition of a group of young people who have done nothing wrong but have worked to do everything right.
The action of the White House this week to dismantle the DACA program and target the lives of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants says a lot about the sad state that our federal government is in today. These young adults are in our country because they were brought here by their parents in search of a better life. They are here, through no act of their own, simply to fight for the American Dream and have a brighter future than the generations that came before them. That is the story of every generation that has come to our country and it is the story of the ‘dreamers’ today. To deny them the ability to work, get educated and live freely in the only home most of them have ever known is not only cruel but, as others have said, self-defeating. We should all want these young people to excel and succeed. We should all want them to reach their full potential and be all they can be to help make our communities even stronger places to live, work and play. We should all want them to get educated. We should all want them to work and contribute to their neighborhoods. These young adults need to be a part of our society not only for their own benefit but for the betterment of who we are as a community and beyond.
As a youth advocate who helps to lead a nonprofit that believes in the limitless potential of ALL young people, I know that we cannot simply ignore the possibilities that these young adults bring to us all. We cannot simply say because 'on paper its says you are not American' that you are not a part of our community and not a part of what makes us all stronger. Together all boats rise and the plight of DACA young people is tied to all of our futures. It is a struggle that requires us to raise our collective voices to support and fight for as that is the spirit of who we are. As we say often at Mass Mentoring, it does not matter where you come from, who your parents are or where you go to school; all young people have the right to excel and reach their full potential. That is truly the spirit of the American Dream and we, as a nation, must fight to protect that dream for ALL young people.
Marty Martinez, President & CEO