Interview with a Dreamer
Nia Hampton | Monday September 11th 2017
The possibility that Trump may dismantle the Dream Act that Obama worked so hard to create is sending shock waves throughout the country. So much of our life is global, many of us are friends with and lovers of undocumented people. Many of us are undocumented ourselves. As a person with friends from all over, I sought out to talk with someone who is personally affected by the news. I’m keeping them anoynoumus to protect them. The following conversation was had on September 7th 2017.
Dreamer: I am 25 years old and an Administrative Coordinator at a major medical institution. I came to this country with my older brother on a plane. I thought I was just visiting my parents, with one suitcase in September 2002, so right after 911. We came here on a visitors VISA, which is kind of like a tourist visa. So we were good for the first four years, but then we had to renew, which we did. But after two renewals we weren’t allowed to renew. After 2010, I was out of status.
ATPB: How did you first hear about DACA and what made you sign up?
Dreamer: We first heard about it, cause I had been following the Dream Act, which Obama had promised. It kept getting starts and stops and wasn’t getting passed. And I was excited about it because I was paying out of state tuition at a small college. [undocumented people don’t qualify for in state tuition] It was exciting.
ATPB: Do you remember the day, and what it was like?
Dreamer: We went to a lawyer. And talked to her about it and she filled out the forms. I don’t remember much. I think I was 18 or 19 and I wasn’t as focused. My older brother was there and more into the details, I just remember it was good/scary.
ATPB: So you signed up…and then what happened next?
Dreamer: First of all, we had to come up with 500 dollars each. And each renewal is 500 dollars, you have to include lawyer fees because the forms are confusing as fuck. You can’t do it yourself, if you do it yourself, you will mess something up. Our lawyer gave us a discounted fee of 500 dollars. So you sign up and after a few weeks you get a letter to go get biometrics, which is basically like getting your picture taken. Getting your thumb print. That was kinda scary for me the first time, cause you know, we were out. Like, we got your shit, we got all your information, the addresses, everything. But then after a couple more months, we got Social Security numbers. I got a social security card for the first time in my life, I was so excited. I got to go to the Social Security office. And I got a license, which meant I could finally drive. I could apply to jobs that weren’t under the table, since I was working under the table before to pay for school.
ATPB: So DACA was good, while it was good?
Dreamer: Yeah, it was. Even still to this day, it’s amazing– while it still exists.
ATPB: So where are you now currently?
Dreamer: I’m sort of lucky that we got our DACA renewed until 2019. And me and my boyfriend, we got married. Once we heard rumors about Trump rescinding it, we got worried. Cause if he [Trump] cuts DACA off completely, I can’t go into work the next day, I don’t get my next paycheck. Everything’s on pause. I can’t go to the doctors anymore, I can’t drive anymore. I need to go into hiding.
ATPB: Cause they got all your info.
Dreamer: Yes they have everything.
ATPB: Do you think people who didn’t sign up for DACA are in a better position right now?
Dreamer: I think that [at the time] it was the right thing to do, because if/when it gets rescinded in March you at least have savings from working and earning as much as you could or were able to go to school, you at least got to live the full American Dream, whereas beforehand, you were in hiding and you were scared. You finally got to be like normal, like all the other people you grew up with. So, it was beautiful. If I had to go back and do it all again, knowing that Trump would be President, I probably would have still done it.
To keep up with the DACA news and find out what you can do to support Dreamers, click here.