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DACA: How Policy and People Come Together (VIDEO)

On September 13th, Judge Andrew Hanen ruled DACA unlawful for the second time. His ruling threatens the livelihood of many Dreamers who rely on the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program to legally work, attend school, grow their careers and build families without the threat of deportation. 

At World Relief, we have seen firsthand how policy impacts the lives of real people and how advocating for our neighbors can create lasting change. That’s why Jess Galván, World Relief writer and advocate, sat down with two current DACA recipients, Liz Dong and Itza Aguirre, to hear their stories and learn how we can draw near to Dreamers in their greatest season of need.

Meet Liz

Liz came to the United States from China with her mom when she was just a young child. Growing up, all she ever knew was life in America. Hear what it was like for her to find out the truth about her status when she was a teenager in high school.

Thanks to God’s provision, Liz was able to attend and graduate with honors from Northwestern University. Upon graduating, Liz found out about DACA and applied in hopes to legally work in the United States. She shares what it was like to pursue a career given her status. 

While many Dreamers rely on DACA for opportunities, one of the most complicated restrictions is the inability to easily travel outside the United States. Liz explains how this impacted her in 2017 while trying to visit her ailing grandparents in China.  

Meet Izta 

Itza always knew that she didn’t have permanent status in the U.S. But it wasn’t until she was in high school and preparing for college that she really understood what that meant. 

DACA requires all recipients to reapply every two years and approval is never guaranteed. Hear what it was like for Itza to pursue a college education as a DACA recipient with so much uncertainty year after year. 

Despite the challenges, Itza shares how she is grateful for DACA and the temporary opportunities it provides. 

Creating Change That Lasts

We see God’s hand at work for justice numerous times throughout scripture. He cares for the vulnerable and our brothers and sisters in need. That’s why it’s so important that, as believers, we learn what true advocacy looks like through stories like Liz and Itza’s.  

Listen to how Izta’s church and community have walked alongside her while advocating on her behalf. 

World Relief’s advocacy efforts focus on biblical thinking about issues of immigration — both in local churches and among elected officials with the authority to set immigration policy. 

For Liz, advocacy is an opportunity to serve as a witness to our faith as Christians. She shares what advocacy has looked like for her and people in similar situations within the church. 

Since DACA recipients do not have a permanent status, they are ineligible to vote during elections on policy that directly impacts them. Itza shares what it means to her when others vote on her behalf.

You’ve just heard a bit of the real-life experiences of two Dreamers whose lives are forever changed by immigration efforts like the DACA program. Now, more than ever, your voice and advocacy matter for Dreamers who rely on DACA. Will you be part of bringing lasting change to communities today, tomorrow and for generations to come? 

Contact your representatives today. Support establishing a permanent pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and young immigrants brought to the United States as children. 

To hear more, as well as from our VP of Advocacy and Policy, Matt Soerens, watch the complete conversation below. 

Jessica Galván is a Content Writer at World Relief. She is passionate about storytelling and amplifying diverse voices to reveal the beauty of God’s creation. She is also the Editorial Director for Chasing Justice and prior to World Relief, she was a freelance writer and editor for a variety of clients in publishing, most recently Penguin Random House. When she isn’t wordsmithing for the pursuit of faith and justice, she is spending time with her husband and their 3 children in the Houston, TX area.

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