A Decade of DACA: Cecilia’s Story
June 14, 2022
As a child, we don’t see the world as it is. A child’s worries are not always the same as an adult’s. For some children, their worries may be getting a new toy, wondering what they’ll have for lunch, or even with whom they will play. For other children, their worries are wondering what their parents look like, where and with whom they sleep that night, or even worrying about their safety, security, shelter, and food. As a six-year-old, I had the same worries as the latter. I immigrated from El Salvador to live with my parents in the U.S. at this age. I left behind my family and friends I grew up with.
My parents were immigrants themselves, and we were constantly worried that if anything happened, anyone of us could be deported back to El Salvador. My parents worked jobs such as being a construction worker, doing house cleaning, and being a restaurant worker. All this was done so that in the future, I could receive the education they could not achieve.
Coming to the U.S. was a difficult transition. I went to public school, where I learned how to speak English and helped others from other Spanish-speaking countries learn English, too. My joy in helping others began in elementary school and continues growing. I dreamed of helping others and supporting their dreams. I wanted to go to college so that I could obtain a degree that would allow me to be a teacher to teach, support, and care for children. Being a DACA recipient has made all of this possible.
In high school, I was afraid I wouldn’t go to college because I would have to pay out-of-state tuition, but DACA made it possible for me to search for organizations that support Dreamers in their educational journey. I was able to go to college and pay in-state tuition. During my time in college, I was financially helping my family. DACA allowed me to work at a part-time job. Now that I have graduated from college with a degree in Elementary Education, I can work at a school and help and support students in their learning and social development.
Until this day, I continue to worry about what will happen if my DACA is rejected. I worry that I will no longer be able to impact many students’ lives. I worry that I will be deported back to El Salvador even after I have made a life here in the U.S. I worry about the lives of those children who will lose their families and homes because they will no longer be able to work in their everyday jobs. My dream for the future of our country is to take that worry away from all those children and their families. Permanent protection for Dreamers will ensure they continue to make an impact in others’ lives, and it will provide protection for their families and for generations to come.
Name abbreviated for anonymity.