Six New York DACA Recipients in Washington, D.C. Today to Advocate for Permanent Protections for Vital Communities

New Yorkers Joined More than 75 DACA Recipients, TPS Holders, and DED Recipients for the #ProtectTheDream Fly-In

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, six Dreamers from New York traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate directly to their Members of Congress for passage of bipartisan legislation that will provide permanent protections to individuals living in the United States. Without urgent action from Congress, more than 1 million individuals — including 32,000 New York Dreamers — could be separated from their families, ripped out of the workforce, and deported, beginning in just a matter of weeks.

The New York Dreamers joined a diverse group of nearly 80 individuals from 12 different states, including DACA recipients who are pursuing higher education, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders who have rebuilt their lives in the United States after fleeing natural disasters in their home countries, and hardworking Liberian American Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients who have contributed to their U.S. communities for decades.

Every individual in the group has a unique story, but all have had their lives thrown into chaos due to the Trump Administration’s actions to terminate programs — like DACA, TPS, and DED — that currently protect more than 1 million individuals. Each participant is at risk of being deported, separated from their loved ones, and forced out of their communities to return to countries they may not have seen in decades. Only permanent legislative protections from Congress will allow them the certainty to continue living and working in the U.S., and building their lives here.

The following New York Dreamers participated in the Washington, D.C. fly-in and are willing to participate in media interviews.

Carlo Barrera Prado, DACA Recipient (New York, NY)

  • Carlo Barrera is a 26-year-old K-2nd Grade Science Teacher at the Speyer Legacy School in Manhattan. Carlo was born in Queretaro, Mexico and his family immigrated to Austin, TX when he was 6 years old. “Mr. B”, as his students call him, majored in Economics at Kenyon College and, afterward, spent two summers interning for Ernst & Young. In his senior year, Carlo was offered a full-time job from EY but decided to turn it down and pursue his passion for teaching. After graduating, Carlo began teaching in the fall of 2015 at Success Academy in Brooklyn. That spring, he began as an Associate Science Teacher for grades K-4. After one year at Success Academy, he was offered the K-2nd Grade Lead Science Teacher role at Speyer Legacy School and is currently in his 3rd year at that school. One of his biggest passions is soccer: Carlo coaches the K-4th grade after school soccer program and the 7/8th-grade Varsity team in the Fall. During his free time, Carlo religiously follows his favorite soccer team: FC Barcelona. He likes to play in recreational leagues around the city and enjoys going to live music shows.

Karla Cruz, DACA Recipient (Staten Island, NY)

  • Karla Cruz came to the United States at the age of four with her older sister and mother. She is currently an Assistant Manager at a Wendy’s in Staten Island, NY, which wouldn’t be possible without her DACA status. Due to her status, she has been able to get health insurance and seek treatment for her mental health, which has helped her tremendously. Karla wants to see change in our immigration system that includes permanent protection for DACA holders.

Rey Jeronimo Mendez, DACA Recipient (Staten Island, NY)

  • Rey Jeronimo Mendez is a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College currently finishing his Associates of Science in Human Services. Rey was born in Valle de Chalco, Mexico. He was brought to the U.S at the age of 2 years old and raised in Staten Island, NY. Rey is one of 700,000 DACA recipients and currently on his 4th renewal. He has served as a Direct Support Specialist for a non-profit organization, where he worked one-on-one with youth placed in the foster care homes. It was there that he developed a passion for working with kids. He now has a clear end-goal to obtain a bachelors in social work at Hunter College. During his senior year in high school, he became very active and very outspoken within his community. He served as an adult mentor in an immigrant youth leadership program at El Centro del Inmigrante in Staten Island. He has worked on a national grassroots advocacy efforts in D.C, spoken at town hall meetings, with elected officials and with immigrant leaders and elected officials in his borough, city and on Capitol Hill.

Stella Linardi, DACA Recipient (Ithaca, NY)

  • Stella Linardi is a student at Cornell University, majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations with potential minors in Inequality Studies, and Law and Society. Though she was born in Indonesia, Stella grew up in Southern California, and she graduated high school with highest honors, participated in the Los Angeles Immigrant Youth Coalition, and interned for the California Department of Labor. Working with the Department of Labor is how she discovered her passion for law and public policy. At Cornell, Stella is active in the Cornell University American Civil Liberties Union and writes public policy papers and op-eds for Cornell Roosevelt Institute. In 2011, Stella’s father was removed from the United States and has been barred from reentering the country ever since. This made raising her two children alone extremely difficult for Stella’s mother, who did so by working two minimum-wage jobs at a time, often the only avenue open to undocumented workers. Since arriving in 2003, Stella’s family has struggled to obtain documentation. They applied for sponsors twice, in 2003 and 2010. In 2011, however, her family underwent a removal proceeding. Still, Stella, her mother, and her younger brother stayed in the U.S., and Stella was able to gain DACA status in 2015, allowing her to apply to college and breathe a little bit easier.

Aura Lopez Zarate, DACA Recipient (Newburgh, NY)

  • Aura Lopez Zarate is a 22-year-old DACA recipient, currently pursuing a degree in political science at CUNY. She hopes to eventually attend law school and become an international civil rights lawyer. She volunteered for Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley for almost 4 years before she received DACA and could be officially hired. Her dedication to her community led her to receive various honors including awards from Orange County, where she resides, and citations from Congress. She is currently the Latinx grassroots organizer for a program named Raiz of Planned Parenthood, which focuses on engaging the Latinx community in the fight for reproductive rights, and for political and economic power. As a sophomore at CUNY, she serves as the president of Borough of Manhattan Community College Rowing Club.

Ivy Teng Lei, DACA Recipient (New York, NY)

  • Ivy was seven years old when her mother told her they were leaving China to visit Disneyland. She was told it was a secret and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to her friends. Their trip to Disneyland turned out to be a permanent move to New York City. Ivy has never left the United States since she arrived and has experienced immense struggle since her arrival. She eventually found out that she was undocumented and faced difficulties in applying for aid to attend college. Ivy earned a prestigious scholarship but was heartbroken to find out she needed a social security number to actually receive it. Nevertheless, she was able to work random part-time jobs to save for tuition and attend the City University. She has a corporate job and is incredibly proud of what she has achieved.


  • DACA recipients are integral to the fabric of communities across New York. Protecting Dreamers and ensuring that they and their family members can thrive is good for New York families and good for New York’s economy.
  • In New York, DACA has allowed more than 32,000 young people to come forward, pass a background check, and live and work legally in the U.S.
  • Ending DACA, and failing to provide permanent protections for Dreamers, would cost New York nearly $2.6 billion in annual GDP losses.
  • DACA-eligible Dreamers in New York have an annual spending power of $1.4 billion.
  • New York’s Dreamers pay more than $113.4 million in state and local taxes annually.

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