NEWSWEEK -- Denia Perez is an Immigrant Justice Corps fellow and immigration attorney at Make the Road New York. She wrote this opinion piece for Newsweek.
“My parents and I migrated to the U.S. when I was 11 months old. Like many before us, we left Mexico seeking a more prosperous future. Neither one of my parents went to college. My dad graduated high school, and my mom completed only the sixth grade. I worked hard to be the first in our family with a diploma. I graduated from San Francisco State University in May 2012, uncertain if I could find a way to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming an attorney. Then, on June 15 that year, Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
“DACA was a response to the collective bravery of hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people like me who shared their stories publicly, marched and continued the tradition of civil disobedience in the United States, with its roots in the civil rights movement, to draw attention and support for our struggle. DACA didn't just provide us protection from deportation and work authorization — it emboldened us to take risks and realize dreams that once seemed impossible.
“Thanks to DACA, I not only attended and graduated from law school but also became the first DACA recipient admitted to the Connecticut Bar.”