Miriam Tellez Sorrosa said she was in awe about a lot of things during her visit to Washington, D.C., this week for Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, but sharing space with other immigrants and Americans like herself was definitely “one of the most magical things” about the evening. “I feel like that’s what America always strives to be: with the people and for the people.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient was California Representative Gil Cisneros’ guest at the speech, becoming one of at least a dozen Dreamers that night to put a face on Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. Tellez Sorrosa said she “was super excited to hear that there were going to be more DACA recipients attending and there was this moment where we were all in the same room. I was just like, ‘Yes.’”
This is nothing new for Tellez Sorrosa, though. The California State University, Fullerton, student works in the school’s Titan Dreamers Resource Center, where she helps provide academic and emotional support to other undocumented immigrant youth. While she certainly serves in a mentor role for other immigrant youth, they share the same kind of uncertainty when it comes to the future of their DACA protections.
Still, Tellez Sorrosa said that she’s “definitely not as afraid” as she was before. “I have until 2020 with my permit. And that’s kind of my safety net, so I’m going to try to do as much as possible while I have DACA and I’m going to continue to advocate for something bigger that will just benefit not only the Dreamers, quote-unquote.” At the State of the Union, she wore a “Dreamer” sash “as a statement piece. I was hoping it would spark dialogue.”
While DACA appears to be safe for now, and former and current beneficiaries are being urged to renew their protections as soon as possible, in the long term, undocumented youth and their families need permanent protections—a pathway to citizenship. Tellez Sorrosa has done her part by following the rules to qualify and enroll in DACA. Now we must do our part. “This is her home; this is where she wants to make a difference, and we need to be embracing that,” said Rep. Cisneros.