Gerardo Vicente-Villafaña (pictured above), a DREAMer, will journey with his brother, Jesus, to Washington D.C. in October to urge Representatives to vote for compassionate Immigration Reform at the CWS Global Summit. His story and hopes are recorded below.
I just remember coming to the United States when I was three years old. My family brought me here to have a better life, to have better opportunities. The American Dream is one of the things that influenced my parents to come here.
It was difficult because I did not have rights before. I could not do things that other people could, like apply for a job, play sports, because they usually ask me for documents. Things that a typical teenager would want to do but could not exactly.
The DREAM Act gave us hope.
Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals gave us an opportunity to do what we came here for. Generally, people who are here undocumented do not have the same rights as others. They do the same amount of work, but get paid less.
For people who are still here and undocumented, the important thing is an education and do not lose hope.
There are people who want to come here and be successful. What if you have someone who wants to come here and, for example, be a doctor that could be the person that cures cancer, but you are limiting them. Everyone should have the opportunity to pursue that dream.
I hope that the law progresses, that other people who came here at a young age, not just students, not just those who came here under the age of 16.
If it was not for the immigrants’ rights groups, churches, and other organizations that fight for immigrants’ rights, we would not be here in this position.
Now that I have work authorization, I would like to go to a 2 or 4 year college and study technology, medicine, and industry.
With my first paycheck, I will save that money.
In August 2012, CWS received a grant to help support the application process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a 2 year work permit for Dreamers, a temporary status. Temporary until Congress passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform.