Everyone, regardless of citizenship status, deserves to be able to live free from harm in America. But as a DACA recipient, I’ve lived most of my life in fear of being separated from my mother and unable to plan for my future. Right now, the American people have an opportunity to elect candidates — up and down the ballot — who will keep families together and undo Trump’s cruel immigration policies.
I came to the United States from Honduras at 6 years old. I am American in my heart. Just not on paper. I dream of one day going to law school, but if Trump stays in office, my dreams will be shattered because he has promised to get rid of the DACA program and I could be expelled from the only country I call home.
In my community in South Florida, working immigrant families — including those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) like mine — are valued and respected. We all have dreams of being able to plan for the future and be fully integrated into American society. Many in my community are deemed essential because they are risking their lives to keep this country fed, clean, and safe during this pandemic. They are firefighters, doctors, nurses, grocery store attendants, construction workers. TPS grants them the right to be here and perform these essential services. Yet thousands of them will be expelled from this country if Trump is reelected.
Your vote is essential to many families like mine, who love this country but can’t vote because of our broken immigration system. Immigrants like myself and my mother, we work hard and, unlike President Trump, pay our fair share of taxes. Yet this administration is seeking to destroy our family and uproot us from the only home I can remember.
Everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect. That is why this summer I joined I Am America 2020, a civic engagement campaign that works in coalition with SEIU, iAmerica and FLIC Votes. Together we educate voters on the issues that matter most to our communities, including the DREAM Act, so that come November we can join together to elect leaders that represent our values.
Your vote is a commitment to make this country and our immigration system more just. On Election Day, you must get out and vote your conscience and stand up for what is right. Stand up for Dreamers, for people with TPS, for your neighbors and co-workers who came to this country in search of safety and better opportunities for their children. We need to end Trump’s cruel attacks on immigrants and reform our immigration system to make it fairer, more humane and restore America’s place as a nation that welcomes immigrants.
Note: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision News.