To honor DACA’s fifth anniversary, the ACLU of Illinois is launching a storytelling project featuring DACA recipients. We hope that by telling these stories, we give agency to more people to tell their own story and challenge the harmful rhetoric coming from the Trump Administration. Here is one story:
After college, I want to attend law school. I wanted to practice immigration law, but it turns out that immigration defense doesn’t pay that well. Now I am trying to do some type of corporate law, but still plan to do pro-bono work. Right now, there is a big disfranchisement within the immigrant community, not just because of the Trump administration but also because of a bunch of lawyers that have taken advantage of this situation and charge enormous fees to immigrants fearing they might be targeted for deportation. I remember looking into DACA and talking with lawyers - they were going to charge me $2,000 just to fill out the forms. So the immigrant community does not necessarily feel trust in many lawyers.
A significant reason I want to go to law school is to be able to change some of our country’s immigration laws. When a lot of people hear about immigration and DACA students, they ask “why don’t you just leave and come back legally?” They don’t understand the long process that goes with coming here. They don’t understand there’s a cap on the number of visas they issue every year. They don’t understand that certain things that go into the process itself that can take up anywhere between 3 to 10 years—all just to have documentation to come here or remain here legally.
When some people hear this, they say, “Well, that is the law.” Well luckily, we can change the law. To change people’s views on immigration, we have to change the immigration laws in the first place.