When Diana Campos first came to live in the U.S., she was only an infant.
“I was born in Mexico and arrived in the U.S. a year later. I have lived here my whole life,” said Campos.
“Growing up undocumented I became accustomed to what it felt like to be an Americanized Mexican living in a society that did not fully accept me. I graduated from high school in 2012 and found myself with acceptance letters to colleges that I could not attend. I found myself driving in fear of being pulled over without my license. A lack of a work permit made me feel useless and my future looked dark,” she said. “I was stripped of basic rights, I, as a person of faith, knew every person was born with.”
As the new Administration continues to take action, the future of the almost 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States has become uncertain. An atmosphere of anxiety permeates some of our communities, where many fear their families will be torn apart and their lives shattered.
The Catholic Church believes that migrants must be welcomed with dignity and respect – as if we were greeting Christ himself. Migrants leave their home countries for a variety of reasons, with many escaping life-threatening war zones and extreme poverty. In the United States, and throughout the world, the Church devotes both pastoral and material assistance to “welcome the stranger.”
One of the most prominent worries is the fear that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) programs will be eliminated. DACA and DAPA are designed to provide undocumented persons who were brought to the United States when they were children with temporary relief from deportation (deferred action).
“DACA changed my life and view on life completely,” said Campos. “It helped me re-establish my mental health and allow me to see that I am useful by giving me a work permit and a social security number. I felt safer and that with DACA I could now give back to this country that has given me so much.”