August 2012 Article 1: I am a DREAMer


I am a DREAMer

My family came to the U.S. from Chile in the 1980s as tourists and stayed. Like many new immigrants we didn’t speak English. Times were different then.  There were no English as a Second Language programs in school. I was left back for a year until I learned enough English to attend school, watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and Sesame Street.  Also, there was a way to gain legal residence, which is sorely lacking today.

I went to public school, college, and law school. It wasn’t easy. My parents couldn’t help me with my school work. They couldn’t help me pay for college or law school.  I worked part-time while in high school, full time while I was in college and law school. Between work, my scholarships and loans, I earned my degrees. I worked seven days a week from morning until night for years.  It can be done, but today too few have those opportunities.  I was fortunate, doubly so because I met my wife Kimberly in law school.  We now work together and have two beautiful children, Noemi and Marcel.  We live in Long Branch, NJ on the shore, close where I went to high school.

The purpose of the DREAM Act was to help people like you and me — for those of us who came here as young children, have grown up here, speak English fluently, were educated here, and consider this wonderful county our home. But the DREAM Act did not become law.

On June 15, 2012, President Obama acted. He issued an executive order granting Deferred Action for qualifying undocumented youths. It is only a temporary solution.  It is not a path to legal residency or citizenship.  It is not amnesty.  Eligible youths will receive work authorization and the ability to apply for a driver’s license and a social security number for two years only.  This program is meant to help people who, like me and my family, decided to stay. Now is the time to discuss the requirements of this program and how you qualify. I look forward to helping you achieve your dreams.

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