Tonight, I’m remembering so clearly the day Jose went to file his first DACA application. It was March 23, 2013. We were living in Joliet at the time as I was going to a college nearby. We had just received the funds from my parents to help us. We didn’t have enough money on our own. Jose had an appointment with a small immigration services company in Chicago to assist with the application. That morning, I hurriedly went to Walmart to get a money order for Jose to send along with his application to USCIS. I nervously took copies of receipts and photos for Jose at The UPS Store I worked at. And, then he was on his way.
I was adamant (If you know me, you know that I can be kind of ruthless about things I believe in. This was one of those things. Haha!) that Jose file his DACA application as soon as possible. And, we did. Jose was hesitant about it all at first, but after talking with him, we made the jump. Any change can be scary, but together we knew that this was the right thing.
The morning of his application appointment, I was nervous. We both were, but there was also this huge presence of hope. Hope that Jose would be able to live a more normal life. God, maybe he could drive with an actual driver’s license. Maybe, he could work with a work permit. And, wow, how cool would it be if we could go on a trip and fly on a plane together? And, to top it off, he could get a social security number?
To this day, it makes me cry. I cry about our immigration journey all of the time. STILL. Sometimes, I’ll be sitting at the dining room table, I’ll look at Jose and cry because he’s here. He’s home. And guess what? DACA was the beginning of it all for us.
I’m emotional tonight as I pull out all of our file folders of each year we renewed his DACA. In 2013 and for many other people now, DACA was our ONE hope. It was my reassurance that for as long as DACA was around, Jose would be allowed to stay in the US, and we could remain together.
I cannot tell you how overjoyed I am that DACA is here to stay. You best fucking believe it is. And you want to know why? Dreamers like Jose put up the biggest fight. They’ve lived through things you never have. They aren’t going anywhere. And, there are people like me who love them and who will fight like hell to make sure they stay where they call home.