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Dreamers in Danger

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Just a little longer, he thinks. Holding on as tight as he possibly can, he refuses to let go. Just one more minute, please. He buries his face in the crook of his sobbing mother’s neck and thinks of all the dreams that are now dead and out of reach.

He is a Dreamer. There are 800,000 of them in the United States, right now, at this very moment, and every single one of them is in danger. Not only are they at risk, but so are their families. Their goals. Their hobbies. Their friends. Their plans.

I am fighting for the 15-year-old boy living in Arlington, running cross-country and participating in the robotics club. I understand his mother, who sits in front of the TV, biting her nails as she listens to the most recent news story on “Noticiero Univision” regarding her children’s’ education. I see his father, who does not really understand the situation. Most of the information he receives comes from the breakroom at his welding job, where all he hears are rumors and humorless jokes about what might happen in half a year. He is too busy looking for extra shifts to help pay for his son’s upcoming school trip to listen to what his co-workers say. I hear his seven-year-old sister, born in America, who sits confusedly at the dining table looking at her mother’s tear-stained face and untouched pasta and her angry brother, wondering why they keep talking about being separated. To all the families across the country who are going through this situation, I am not giving up on you.

Every 800,000 dreamers are 800,000 humans. 800,000 Americans. They have grown up here. They know the best places to eat and when $5 movie night is. They recite the pledge at school in the morning. They are here to study. They receive international phone calls from their grandparents every holiday and feel overwhelmed at the pride in their voices when they hear that they got accepted into college. These people have a routine daily life like any other person, and they have the potential to accomplish great things.

We cannot separate these families. That mother who came here with her heart full of hope and her body full of fear so that her children could have the greatest education, in the greatest country in the world, now she sits on her couch feeling utterly hopeless. That father set his feet on this soil with his fists by his side, prepared to learn the finest welding skills from the finest workers, in a fine, developed country. Now, wearing his welding mask to cover his red-rimmed eyes, he hears the hysterical laughs in the break room of coworkers who wish he was gone. That 15-year-old boy sits at his computer, blankly staring at the programming on his screen, wondering how much longer he will be on the robotics team.

As our hope begins to drain, we march. As our loved ones begin to slouch from their struggle, we fight. United we stand in a country that takes in the poor and the needy. We march in one of the most diverse countries in the world, with love thriving in our hearts, in hopes of saving those whose voices are muted. We hold up that imaginary torch in our right hand as high as we can reach and we begin:

“Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here.”

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