As Trump Ends DACA, Local Dreamer Says: 'I'm an American... not an Alien. I'm a Human'

Sep 5, 2017

Denia Candela and her son on graduation day from Sonoma State University.
Credit YouTube

While others were celebrating Labor Day, Acapulco-born "dreamer" Denia Candela had an anxious weekend, worrying about the president's decision on young immigrants. Denia came to the United States from Mexico when she was in middle school, and once President Obama provided a way for her to work and complete her education via the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, myriad possibilities opened up for her. The mother of a young son, Candela is facing possible deportation unless Congress finds a way to allow the approximately 800,000 affected immigrants, many of whom have known no other homes, to remain in this country.

I am an American. And something he kept saying in his remarks today, the attorney general, you know, the word alien. I am not an alien, I am a human. I bleed. I breathe... I am American.

"A lot of the points [against DACA] are almost hurtful, and kind of outrageous sometimes," Candela said. "First and foremost, as I was hearing the history of it, [the attorney general] kept making remarks that it was unconstitutional. [He said] we love people, but we can't take everybody. We have to do it within the laws and boundaries. One of the biggest ones that caught my eye, was just the wording. He made the point about job opportunities being taken away from tons of Americans.

"I've interviewed for every position I've had. I've been through any application process just like anybody else. And I have the skill set to be part of those job opportunities. That was one thing, that jobs were being taken away from Americans.

"Another point he made was that we were benefiting from Social Security. Well, we are not eligible for any sort of federal funding, not even for MediCAL. Those sorts of things are not true, and are not accurate information."

Candela now works for the North Bay Children's Center as manager for enrollment and outreach. This built on a job she had at Sonoma State when she was studying there. She is also active in promoting higher education for fellow immigrants, outreach she expects to be much harder as the DACA program faces a spring sunset.

We are all trying to stay connected, and we all know that we are having each other's backs right now.

What's changed as of September 5:

  • Unless Congress takes action, DACA recipients will start losing their work permits, and their protection from deportation, as early as March 5, 2018
  • No new applications will be accepted as of today, September 5
  • Those with permits that expire before March 5 can submit applications for renewal by October 5, 2017
  • All permits and work documents will be valid until their expiration date