By Aidé Salgado
My last name is Salgado. I speak perfect Spanish. I have brown skin and big black eyes. I eat tacos like there is no tomorrow. And I AM NOT DACA. I know so because when I see a police officer, I don´t have to worry about getting kicked out of the USA. I do not have to make a plan B every two years just in case my temporary permit is not renewed. I was able to apply for FAFSA and attend college, and people do not accuse me of being a criminal at the tender age of 2 or 6 or 8, or whatever age someone else decided to bring me into the US.
What I AM is a friend and witness of the resilience of spirit of those who are DACA, those who have to have a clean criminal record, work or study, pay taxes, and cannot travel abroad, just for the opportunity to come out of the shadows, and yet somehow seem to be considered less worthy of being American.
We have prayed together. We have dreamed about making the world a better place, about going to college and travelling around the world. We have watched Sunday night football and discussed whether deep-dish pizza is better than stuffed crust pizza. We have been encouraged by our parents to work hard, to be grateful for being raised in the land of opportunity, to stand up when the national anthem is played, to celebrate 4th of July together.
I may look no different from my friends from the Catholic church I attended until I moved abroad, but there seems to be a belief that at some point during my life as a fetus I purposely decided to be born in the United States, thus I deserve to live out my dreams, whereas my DACA friends should not even dare to have dreams in the first place.
Our country is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, and brave is exactly what DACA Dreamers are. It is a match made in heaven. Let´s make it happen!
This article was contributed with the support of Madrid Resistance, of which Aidé Salgado is a participant. Madrid Resistance is a group that organizes on US issues from Spain, in solidarity with social justice struggles around the world.