Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Applicants (DACA), known as the DREAMers law, has allowed certain young immigrants here in the United States without documents to qualify for temporary legal status and work permission. In the intervening two years, over 750,000 young people have obtained this form of legal status through the DACA law including thousands from the counties of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Marin. This law has significantly changed the lives of many youth of the North Bay, allowing them for the first time to work legally, obtain a driver’s license, more easily attend university or other advanced education, pursue long-term careers in our society, and otherwise live as their peers born in this country.
Though many anti-immigrant forces in this country like to attack and deem them as “illegals,” these undocumented youth are in fact are our neighbors.
To qualify, applicants had to come here before their 16th birthday and be under 31 years old. They need to have spent at least 5 years here and either obtained a high school diploma or be presently studying. Persons with a criminal record are largely disqualified.
The politicians who thought they would self-deport did not understand that for these young DREAMers moving to their native country would be like a foreign country for them. Their lives are here with their friends, family and community. As the President said, they have grown up pledging allegiance to our flag.
Many young, talented members of our communities finally no longer have to live fearing an ICE agent at every knock on the door and are now openly discussing their status and dreams for the future.
Here are some of their Stories.
Our fourth film was released on January 12th of 2016 and tells the impressive story of local artist and community leader, Maria de Los Angeles. In conjunction with KRCB PBS TV, California Humanities Council and the Sonoma Human Rights Commission we had a special viewing party in Santa Rosa were many DACA supporters came to see the film.
Maria was present and brought along much of her artwork that was exhibited through out the event for all to see. Those in attendence were also able to her Maria's story on how DACA has changed her life.
Here is the story of DREAMer Maria de Los Angeles, the subject of just one of our films from the My American Dreams project.