Saba Nafees is a Dreamer and Ph.D. candidate at Texas Tech. She arrived in the U.S. from Pakistan at age 11 and has known no other home outside of Texas. Under DACA, she has been able to use mathematics to better understand diseases like cancer and teach undergraduate students.
DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of Dreamers to make our communities and economy stronger
DACA allows 645,145 people, from every industry, to work and create jobs for native-born Americans
2 in 5 DACA recipients have a U.S. citizen as a family member
On June 15, 2012, President Obama created a new policy calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children. Applications under the program which is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) began on August 15, 2012.
President Obama announced his “immigration accountability executive action,” which included a series of measures, including expansion of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as the creation of a new deferred action program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Brownsville, Texas issued a preliminary injunction in 2015 effectively suspending implementation of the programs while he ruled on the programs' legality. In 2016, the United States v. Texas case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and tied in a 4-4 ruling. The decision halted the DACA expansion and creation of DAPA. DACA continues to exist as a program and its future is dependent on the next administration.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced the BRIDGE Act – bipartisan legislation to allow those eligible for DACA to continue living in the U.S. with permission from the federal government and provides a congressional solution. A companion bill was introduced by Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) in the House.
"We still don't know a lot about cancer. We still don't know about genetic diseases. My research at Texas Tech goes right into the heart of that. It uses pure mathematics to look into why all these genetic diseases exist and ...
“We still don’t know a lot about cancer. We still don’t know about genetic diseases. My research at Texas Tech goes right into the heart of that. It uses pure mathematics to look into why all these genetic diseases exist and how they exist, so someday we can come up with cures for them. We’re far from that point, but this is the challenge I work on.
In addition to conducting research at Texas Tech, I’ve taught undergraduate students as a teaching assistant. This past semester ,I got to teach anatomy and one of my students was blind and had a service dog. It was a blessing, a great experience to teach her anatomy– something that she got to touch and feel to learn. It taught me a lot of patience. It taught me what it’s like to work alongside my American students and peers. I’m just as much a part of their lives as they are mine.
If DACA is repealed, I would be out of a job immediately and I won’t be able to teach my students. I won’t be able to continue conducting the research that I’m conducting right now. This research could help scientists understand diseases like cancer and lead down a path towards a cure. Without DACA, I can’t continue this critical work.
My name is Saba Nafees, and I was born in Pakistan. I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. I’m doing my PhD at Texas Tech University. I came to the U.S. when I was 11 and now I’m 24.”
"To me, Georgia is my home. I am proud to be from the South and I love to give back to my community. I tell everybody I'm a Latino that grew up eating tortillas and grits at the same time, and North Georgia is home. And fo...
“To me, Georgia is my home. I am proud to be from the South and I love to give back to my community.
I tell everybody I’m a Latino that grew up eating tortillas and grits at the same time, and North Georgia is home. And for somebody to say, ‘Hey, you can’t get in-state tuition’ in a place that I consider my state was really–it was really heartbreaking. I felt out of place.
Right now, I feel optimistic because I believe [the President-elect] and the greater part of the country understands that you can’t deport 750,000 individuals. These are individuals who give back to their community, who are involved in their churches, who have PhDs, who have been creating jobs and who just want to make this country a better place.
When President Obama announced DACA, to me, it was a life-changing experience. I felt that I finally was given a decent chance to be somebody in this country, to contribute to my state, to contribute to my community, to get a job, and to just give back and be somebody in the greatest country on Earth. So when DACA was introduced it opened the doors to many things, even doors I didn’t think were imaginable to open.
My name is Jaime Rangel. I was born in Mexico, but I came to this country when I was only three months old.”
"I invest in the next generation of biomedical tech solutions. When I was working at a convenience store, I always had big aspirations, even though I wasn't sure how they would ever come to fruition. But the moment DACA wa...
“I invest in the next generation of biomedical tech solutions.
When I was working at a convenience store, I always had big aspirations, even though I wasn’t sure how they would ever come to fruition. But the moment DACA was passed, it really put everything into perspective, and I really made a conscious effort to focus on my career. So I ended up pursuing a career as a software engineer.
I went to school at Cal State University, Northridge. I studied economics and biotechnology. After working as a software engineer in the Silicon Valley, I ended up moving to Brooklyn, New York. I now work in venture capital, running a small venture fund that invests in early-stage life science and frontier technology startups.
As a CEO of an investment fund, DACA being repealed does not only affect me. A DACA repeal could affect the startups with which I work, and my ability to invest in them, and their ability to continue to grow and employ hundreds of Americans across the country.
My name is Javier. I’m a DACA recipient and I’m from Mexico City. I came to the US when I was five years old.”
"I didn’t let anything keep me from advancing academically. Unfortunately, when high school ended, I couldn't attend the university of my dreams. I was getting all these acceptance letters, but I couldn't go to any of thes...
“I didn’t let anything keep me from advancing academically.
Unfortunately, when high school ended, I couldn’t attend the university of my dreams. I was getting all these acceptance letters, but I couldn’t go to any of these schools, because I didn’t have a social security number, and therefore I wasn’t eligible for financial aid. I couldn’t pursue the dreams that I had been hoping to. But I did not let my undocumented status hold me back from continuing to advance academically.
I enrolled at Gateway Community College, where I worked very hard as Student Government Association President and graduated with a 3.8 GPA to then be able to attend Quinnipiac University. I graduated magna cum laude and earned by Bachelor’s degree in the May of 2016.
It’s surreal to wake up everyday and be reminded that even though I have been living in America for the past 18 years, in a few months, all my honors and education might end up not mattering any more because I won’t be able to contribute to the country which I have called home for so long.
My name is Maria. I was born in Ica, Peru, and moved to the United States when I was five years old.”
"My dad was a fighter pilot in the Peruvian Air Force, so I grew up with a lot of military influence. When I was in high school I joined NJROTC which was the junior ROTC and I was there for three-and-a-half years. It gave me...
“My dad was a fighter pilot in the Peruvian Air Force, so I grew up with a lot of military influence. When I was in high school I joined NJROTC which was the junior ROTC and I was there for three-and-a-half years.
It gave me that taste of maybe what my dad might have lived when he was in the military. I lost him was I was only six years old, so I never really got to know that part of him. I always thought in the back of my head when I graduate, I want to join the military. When I was in my junior year I realized that I couldn’t enroll in the military because I was undocumented. I was sitting with a recruiter at my school, an Air Force recruiter, and he asked me about it. He’s like, ‘What’s your social?’ So when I told him,’Well I don’t have one.’ He’s like, ‘What about your passport?’ I’m like,’Well I have a Peruvian passport.’ And he’s like,’No you have to either be a U.S. resident or a U.S. citizen to be able to join.’ That’s the first time I ever experienced that big wall of being undocumented, like a big stop sign saying no, you can’t pursue this passion of yours.
I didn’t live a normal life until I got DACA. Thanks to DACA I was able to pursue my career after graduating Cum Laude from Saint Leo University, in Marketing. With DACA I was able to build my professional network, help people, influence people, and do all these things for myself and my family and my community. If that’s going to be taken away, everything that I’ve accomplished, that I’ve worked on, that I’ve helped people with will just fall apart. It will shake the foundation of who I am today as a person, as a professional, even as a friend, as a daughter, everything.
My name is Andrea. I was born in Lima, Peru. I was brought here by my mom when I was 11 years old.”
"My education was so that I could contribute to society. My last year at Southern Methodist University I began working on an engaged learning fellowship. Because of that I was selected to be the commencement speaker for my...
“My education was so that I could contribute to society.
My last year at Southern Methodist University I began working on an engaged learning fellowship. Because of that I was selected to be the commencement speaker for my graduation and represent almost 600 other students who would be graduating that day. In my speech, I thanked the faculty and staff at my university. I’ve had teachers who I’ve looked up to my whole life, who provided amazing educational opportunities regardless of the papers that I had or didn’t have.
I want to be able to work and I want to work in public service. In order to do that I would need to have DACA. I would need to have work authorization in this country. I feel like that’s what my education was for. My education wasn’t for me. My education was so that I could contribute to society. My education was so that I could give back to the community that has given me so much, to the country that has given me so much.
This year I hope that our Congress and our President work to find a permanent solution to provide us [DACA recipients] a pathway to citizenship, to give us an opportunity to use our education, to use everything what we’ve learned in order to give back, in order to contribute, in order to provide for ourselves and our families and our communities.
My name is Jose Manuel Santoyo. I was born in Michoacan, Mexico and came to the US when I was eight years old. “