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Virginia leaders, DREAMers highlight DACA

newspaperOn the four-year anniversary of when Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals enrollment began, Northern Virginia DREAMers Natalia Rodas Calderon and Henry Lopez and Arlington school board member Dr. Emma Violand-Sánchez highlighted the importance of DACA and how it has impacted their lives.

Yesterday, Hillary for America launched a national voter registration program, Mi Sueño, Tu Voto (My Dream, Your Vote), seeking to organize DREAMers to mobilize their communities and ask voters to consider what is at stake for their families in November.

As of March 2016, DACA has protected 11,000 DREAMers in Virginia from being torn away from the only country they have ever known as home. Today, roughly 728,000 DREAMers have been granted DACA across the country. If elected, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine will defend DACA and do everything possible under the law to keep immigrant families together. If Donald Trump is elected president, he has pledged to eliminate DACA on day one, and send a “deportation force” into communities across America to round up and deport 16 million people, including 4 million American citizens born in this country to undocumented parents.

“This election is perhaps the most important election of my lifetime,” said DREAMer Henry Lopez. “What’s at stake here is a choice between two candidates. One candidate is a choice that is about diminishing American values, but also the immigrant community. It is about building a wall that not only hurts the immigrants but hurts the American values across the world stage. Or two, a choice for Hillary Clinton, a choice that not only strengthens the American community but builds American values and strengthens America as a whole.”

“Having Hillary support us, and knowing that she is helping to give us a future here — honestly, it’s incredible,” said DREAMer Natalia Rodas Calderon. “She’s someone that’s compassionate, and she’s someone that deserves to be president. And she’s competing against someone who doesn’t reach into their hearts and see that we are just like you.”

“We’re just as worthy to be here as anyone who was born here,” said Natalia and her sister Alejandra Rodas Calderon, also a DREAMer. “These candidates have polar opposite views on us. One sees our immense values to U.S. society, the other criminalizes us. Losing us is a loss for America. This is the only home we know.”