When Mariana Villafaña was just a child, her mother left the city of León in Guanajuato, Mexico to set out across the desert. With her brother and sister, Mariana was brought to this country long before she knew how important that journey would be for the trajectory of her life—the only memory she has of that fateful border crossing is being carried by a woman through waist-deep water in the middle of the night.
Mariana is an undocumented immigrant, one of an estimated 11 million in this country. But in 2012 she received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, providing her with some security in the only country she calls home. Through DACA, she, along with 800,000 other recipients, are no longer barred from getting a Social Security card, receiving a job with benefits like health care, applying for credit cards, and, in most states, getting a drivers license. Not to mention resting easy knowing that she is not at immediate risk of deportation.
But all of those benefits are now threatened by President Trump’s decision to end DACA. Though Trump has said he wants Congress to come up with a permanent solution to DACA within six months, he has effectively thrown the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people into disarray.
Watch this video to learn how Mariana—the director of strategic communications at the Miguel Contreras Foundation—and Gerardo Gómez—DreamSF Fellow at Pangea Legal Services—are fighting for their rights in Trump’s America. As Gerardo says, “What DACA means to me is that first step, not the last step.”