*Adapted from our national affiliate People’s Action*
My name is Gerardo. I am a proud undocumented immigrant and a grassroots leader at Colorado People’s Alliance, where we fight for racial justice in Colorado and nationwide.
Growing up, I knew I shouldn’t tell other people about my immigration status. I thought it was shameful to be undocumented, but I didn’t quite understand why.
That changed when I turned 19.
I was pulled over one day because my license plate light was burnt out. When the officer saw that I’m Latino, he racially profiled me and questioned my right to be in the country. When he discovered that I didn’t have identification on me, he took me to jail.
I thought it would end there. But the officer decided to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who took me to an immigration office nearby. That was where they began processing a deportation order, before throwing me into a detention center.
I moved to Colorado when I was nine, and all of my friends and family live here. This is my home. It’s the place where I have my hopes and dreams. Being deported to Mexico would mean I’d have nowhere to go.
Thankfully, ICE decided I was not a high priority for deportation and closed my case. I was lucky.
Then, when President Obama introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, I was saved. DACA protected me from being violently incarcerated and deported.
As a DACA youth, I was able to get a job, build a career, obtain health care insurance, and create a network of friends and loved ones without fear of being taken away from them.
But now, President Trump and the GOP are threatening to eliminate DACA. There are reports that an order could come down today. There are 800,000 DACA recipients who have stories like mine. Our lives, our dreams, are on the line.