When President Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2017, Gerardo, a Santa Barbara resident, wrote to me, saying “repealing DACA would take away the hopes and dreams that America represents.” Gerardo has lived on the Central Coast for 14 years and works as a computer engineer — he is also a DACA recipient.
This week, House Democrats introduced the DREAM Act to renew that lost hope and provide certainty to thousands of families left in limbo after the president’s deeply misguided decision. H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, grants DACA recipients a path to citizenship. It includes protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. Even with their future in this country in question, 7,200 DACA-eligible Central Coast residents continue to study and work every day as teachers, first responders, and small business owners. Most DACA recipients immigrated to this country at a young age, and it is the only home they’ve known.
I share a similar story, having immigrated to the United States with my parents as a 5-year-old boy. My father was part of the Bracero Program, working in the fields of Oxnard to support our family. I remember very little about my time in Mexico, but I do remember my summers working alongside him. I’ve felt with my own hands the value our agricultural workers bring to the Central Coast.
This country has given me the opportunity to serve my country in local government, our military, and now, as your representative in Congress. I hope we can give DACA recipients the same opportunity for progress that I was presented by this great nation.
Immigrants have long contributed to the strength and vibrancy of America. The DREAM Act will continue to uphold the invaluable promise of the American Dream.