Group of Dreamers Return From Mexico After Visiting Families
Washington, DC- A group of 40 Dreamers, young people most protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), have returned to the United States after they visited for the first time in many years their place of birth, México.
For the first time in decades these young people were able to travel outside the United States with Advanced Parole for DACA — a document that can be requested to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for humanitarian, educational or work related visits only.
It is not always ensured by DHS that someone with Advanced Parole can re-enter the country, as it is under Border Patrol discretion to allow someone to return. Thus although traveling comes with it’s risk, these young people and others who have requested Advance Parole, have traveled to their place of birth and many of them have re-united with their family members: some of them were dads, brothers or sister whom have been previously deported.
The Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs organized the visit from September 29th to October 4th, which included cultural and educational activities that allowed the young people to learn more about the country that they left when we were children. This was a diverse group of 23 women and 17 men, originating in various states of México and that now live and call home different locations in the United States.
According to the Mexican government, Dreamers belong to a new generation of Mexican migrants who are recognized as leaders committed to promoting the welfare of their communities and as true agents of change.
For this young leaders, this trip was more than just visiting historic and cultural sites, but rather an opportunity to hear the stories of those who have been deported or decided to self deport. In a meeting with “The Other Dreamers”, the groups had an opportunity to hear from those who, unlike the 40 visitors, were forced to leave to start their lives all over again in Mexico.
It was a reminder of the fact that our fight should not end at deportation, but instead, it should be the start for Dreamers in both countries to pressure both governments to address this vulnerable population.
Participants of the visit stated the following:
“This opportunity was one that many had envisioned for years. One of the main objectives of this trip centered around family unification. Some dreamers had the opportunity to visit the places where they grew up in México however, others were not able to return. For some of us whose parents are still in the US, being back in Mexico made me feel guilty because our parents did not have the chance to hug or hold their loved ones therefore, its imperative that our parents obtain a type of relief as well. Ultimately, our parents were the original dreamers; they were the ones with the original vision that they created for us to have a better life and because of our family members more than us is why this movement still continues. Our families deserve respect and dignity and we will keep this on until they receive it.” said Irma Marquez from Minnesota.
“This trip allowed us to continue building the connection and infrastructure needed to assist undocumented immigrants in the US and the deported in Mexico. It means a lot to be able to go back to the root of our family’s migration stories and to unite once more to the country in which we lived in for the beginning or middle parts of our lives. It gave a better understanding about our cultures and it finally put meaning to many of the stories our parents had about Mexico. At the same time, it allowed us to see a new type of Mexico, one that our parents have not had an opportunity to see. Mexico is like other countries, it has beautiful opportunities as well as challenges just like any other country. We understand that there are issues about immigration, poverty, drugs and global issues that cannot be ignored. However, for the first time we were able to make sense of this for ourselves being back in Mexico. Each of our experience is diverse and unique as all of us are. One thing that unites us is the fact that at our core, we believe that we are all humans, we are global citizens, and ultimately, we are transnational agents of change.” said Erika Andiola from Arizona.
“Visiting Mexico healed some scars in my life, but I am still filled of dissolutions. The corrupt government nearly killed my father for doing his job as a journalist, no matter how many people tell me they are sorry for the injustice that happened, I still feel the pain. “ said Estefany Mendez from California.
“After 22 years of being away from the place where I was born, not being able to return in 2008 when my grandfather passed away, and having my other grandfather diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it’s safe to say that being in Mexico was an emotional rollercoaster filled with sadness, happiness, and some closure. Those two days I was in Tecomán, Colima were not eventful at all; my tías and tíos even apologized for not being able to take me sightseeing. All I did was spend time at home with the family. That was more than enough. I made my abuelito laugh when I showed him my mustache socks, my abuelita, the well-known cheese-maker in town, taught me the secrets to making her cheese, my tía took me to el mar, I met cousins I had only heard of, everywhere I went after being introduced as “la hija de Elena” I received joyful welcomes, and…I visited a colorful and fruitful cemetery where my other abuelito was resting.” said Judith Huerta from Oklahoma.
“20 years I waited for this experience , I hope I don’t have to wait another 20 to take my daughter to know the land her mother was born in.” said Vanesa Loya.
“This trip reiterated my belief that our continued work for our families is interconnected and ever so important. I am thankful for the opportunity to connect with Dream leaders in both countries and to learn what the Mexican government is doing and how we will work together.” said Juventino Meza from Minnesota.
“On friday I was able to see some of my cousins, my aunts and my paternal grandparents, the tears of joy made me realised how much they missed me, and how much I missed them. I am blessed because I was able to hug my grandparents and tell them how much I love them, I want other Dreamers and our parents to have the same experience” said Alan Aleman from Las Vegas, Nevada.