More than 600 university officials across the United States have teamed up to ask President Donald Trump not to end the DACA, the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, after he announced plans to terminate it in September. DACA protects 800,000 undocumented youths who came to the United States as minors to live freely and openly without fear of deportation.
Among the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers are outstanding students who excelled at their local colleges and now occupy the most coveted spots in institutions as prestigious as Harvard, M.I.T. and U.C. Berkeley, including DACA recipient Karina Aguilar Guerrero. Guerrero is currently studying Public Policy and Education at Michelle Obama’s alma mater, Princeton University.
“I told [my mom] I got accepted to Princeton and we both started jumping around [the house] and yelling,” she recalls.
Born in Mexicali, México, Guerrero, who’s father Aguilar is a carpenter, is one of the five DREAMers gracing the cover of People en Español‘s November issue. The five young Latinos revealed their personal stories and how they’re fighting to stay in America.
After years of uncertainty about her immigration status, Guerrero was finally able to breathe when President Barack Obama launched the DACA program in 2012 through an executive order that sheltered undocumented immigrants from Congress’s refusal to approve the DREAM Act, a law that would give them legal residence.
“[Being undocumented] pushed me to try harder to do my best in school, get involved, get into sports and I think that also definitely helped me when it came to applying to Princeton,” Guerrero said. “I knew there were going to be obstacles in the way when I wanted to go to school.”
In a statement released in August, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said, “Repealing DACA would be a tragic mistake. DACA is a wise and humane policy that benefits this country in multiple ways. It has allowed talented and motivated students, who came here as a result of decisions by their parents, to pursue educations and contribute positively to our communities and our country.”
In the video above, the 19-year-old, who is the first member of her family to go to college, sends a message to President Trump about his decision to end DACA.
“We deserve to feel safe and secure because we are humans and we need to be seen that way,” Guerrero said.
Learn more about the five DREAMers and their incredible stories by picking up the latest issue of People en Español, on stands now.