SHAFAQNA- Hawzah News Agency – In the days leading up to the US presidential election on November 3, Deysi Cordoba took to her keyboard: “Vote,” the 19-year-old nursing student from Grand Rapids wrote to her friends.
Her fingers flew as she typed. Cast your ballots, she urged, for those who cannot, like herself. Vote, she said, because it could make the difference in whether or not Cordoba and hundreds of thousands of undocumented students, high school graduates and veterans, could, after years of living, working and paying taxes in the United States, see a path to citizenship under now President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. Or, at the very least, she explained, not live every day fearing they could be deported to countries they knew only as children, places many left before they could even speak in full sentences.
Cordoba and her parents moved from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, just south of El Paso, Texas, to Michigan when she was 1 1/2 years old. Since then, she has graduated from Coopersville High School and now works two jobs, one at McDonald’s and another at Outback Steakhouse, while going to school full-time for nursing at Grand Rapids Community College.
“I had a Facebook post explaining to people that I can’t vote, and that when they vote, to speak for the thousands of DACA Dreamers who cannot vote,” Cordoba said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a President Barack Obama-era initiative that generally shields undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children from deportation and allows them to work legally in the country.
The term ‘Dreamers’ refers to the DREAM Act, a federal bill that aimed to grant legal status to undocumented Americans brought to the country as children. The bill was first proposed in 2001 but failed to pass; since then, different versions of the bill have been proposed and one passed the Democratic-led U.S. House this term. But none have become law.
“With [Donald] Trump being president for the last four years, it was a constant stressor if people would be deported or if he would take away DACA,” Cordoba continued. “Even with Obama, he deported a lot of people. Now with the Biden presidency, hopefully he follows through on his promises and gives Dreamers a path to citizenship and more security here.”