On August, 15th the city of Philadelphia held a commemorative event recognizing the 5 years since DACA was implemented and how it has impacted young people in the city.
Our Community Organizer, Olivia Vazquez, who is a DACA recipient herself, was invited to speak alongside other immigrant youth from around the region.
In her speech which can be found below in full, she speaks about the importance of recognizing the youth-led movement that made DACA a reality, the importance to defend it and other programs under attack by the current administration, including Temporary Protected Status, as well as a call for a congressional investigation on the rogue practices of Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
“Good morning everybody,
My name is Olivia Vazquez. I am a community organizer at Juntos as well as a DACA recipient. I came from Mexico when I was 10 years old to join my mother here in Philadelphia.
I first want to start by saying that I am proud to be here with so many amazing immigrant leaders, the young people who made DACA a reality with their direct actions back in 2012, the immigrant community of Philadelphia who led us in ending the use of ICE Holds, as well as our Mayor, Jim Kenney, who was a vital ally in making this policy happen; all examples of how standing up and fighting back are the best defense we have against oppression and hate.
I applied for DACA three years ago and what it has done for me is make me no longer look over my shoulder, worried that I might be deported one day. But I still worry about my family, my mom, my uncle, my community, people I love who sometimes get lost in the conversation, most who have never had the opportunity to rest because they are always at risk. As people of color I worry, because what Charlottesville, VA showed us is that racism is alive in 2017 and we are all at risk of losing what is most important to us.
Today is 5 years that DACA has been in effect and I urge us to defend it because we fought so hard to make it a reality, but we cannot stop there. We must protect all of our community. ICE is a rogue agency. An agency that has been taken off its leash by this administration to do whatever it takes to boost the number of people detained and deported, with no regard for their human rights. An agency whose leader has said that “no population is off the table.” when it comes to deportations and an agency who has continued to use unconstitutional practices like illegal car stops and fingerprint machines to terrorize us. This is why we must hold ICE accountable, we must call for a congressional investigation on ICE today.
Many people will call us Dreamers, young people who dream of a better future despite all the odds stacked against us. But we cannot forget that the real Dreamers have always been our parents. They wanted nothing more but to give us an opportunity for something better than what they had. They are also Dreamers. So if you are here today to defend the Dreamers and to defend DACA, I ask that you defend all of us by also stopping ICE and their rogue tactics.”