Meet DREAMer Terry Tafari
By Carina Elfving, FWD.us Organizing Intern and Somya R. Munjal, Chief Youth Servant at Youthful Savings
Youthful Savings, Spur Tree and Clearpath Immigration, friends of #FWDny, recently shared with us the story of Terry Tafari, a DREAMer who has been interning at Youthful Savings. Terry’s story highlights both the progress we’ve made in the fight to reform our broken immigration system and the amount of work that still has to be done.
Terry is the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant and came to the U.S. as a young girl on a 10-year visa. When the visa expired, Terry’s mother didn’t want to uproot her family and chose to stay. After that, Terry became undocumented, living in fear of deportation, unable to work legally, and afraid to pursue her dream of going to Hunter College – that is until June 15, 2012, when President Obama issued an Executive Action on immigration, which included Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Deferred Action refers to deferring removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. While DACA doesn’t give an individual legal status, it allows him or her to live in the U.S. without fear of deportation for two years, after which time they can apply for a renewal. During these two years, individuals are eligible for a social security number and work authorization card. For the more than one million undocumented children and young adults in this country, DACA has been a life changer. Terry was one of nearly 700,000 young people to apply for DACA and was extremely grateful when her application was approved. DACA has allowed Terry to come out of the shadows.
Despite this amazing opportunity, Terry still faces two major challenges. One is that Terry’s DACA expiration date looms closer. Luckily, Clearpath Immigration has been generous enough to support Terry in the DACA renewal process by providing her with a significant discount. The other challenge is that, coupled with Terry’s acceptance to Hunter College, she is ineligible for student loans and many scholarships won’t even consider her application due to the fact that she doesn’t have legal status. While Terry is able to work, the cost of higher education continues to be prohibitive for her. To combat this issue, Youthful Savings, Spur Tree, and Clearpath Immigration hosted a fundraiser on July 30th at Spur Tree Lounge in order to help Terry pay for college. They raised a total of $1,800, yet there’s more work to be done to ensure that Terry is financially covered for the whole year. Attendees reflect on the event being a “wonderful, heartfelt night of good people that wanted to see Terry succeed.” The efforts of Clearpath Immigration and Youthful Savings provide an inspiring reminder of the great work private organizations and communities do to support their members.
Join our fight to push Congress to support the President’s Executive Action and pass comprehensive immigration reform.