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Camden Diocese Bishop Offers Support to 'Dreamers' of South JerseyLast Edited:
The “Dreamers,” who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), may be facing deportation as soon as next month, depending on if Congress can reach an agreement on how to protect them.
Many of these dreamers live in South Jersey, and on Friday, February 23rd, about a dozen of them met with the bishop from the Diocese of Camden to tell their stories.
“I’ve had my DACA for ... eight years now,” said Luis Botello of Vineland. “I never realized how temporary of a fix it was. And now, I could lose everything.”
For Dreamers across the nation, the United States has always been their home.
These are not criminals, they are not people that are going to cost the country anything.
But the rights they have to go to school, have a job, and drive a car from that DACA piece of paper could soon be over.
“Everything I have, it’s in America,” said Botello. "I’m an American first, before I’m a Mexican.”
Botello came to the United States when he was seven years old.
He is currently a recruit for a Vineland fire station, with hopes to serve his community.
Stories like his filled the halls of the Camden Catholic Diocese Building, as Dreamers opened up to the bishop about their lives in America and fears of returning to a land they barely know.
“It’s cruel and it’s not necessary," said Bishop Dennis Sullivan of the Diocese of Camden. "And as you heard, these are young people with goals, with the desire for more education. That was so loud and clear in that conversation.
"These are not criminals, they are not people that are going to cost the country anything.”
Sullivan is joining other Catholics across the country this Monday, February 26th, for a Congressional Call-In Campaign in Support of Dreamers.
“We come woven into the fabric of this country,” said Alex Gonzalez of Blackwood. “And not only do we contribute to it, but we make it better.”
Per orders given by President Donald Trump, if bi-partisan legislation is not put into place, thousands of DACA recipients could become vulnerable to being deported.
“Throughout the years, I [am] constantly being told no,” said Abril Revueltis. “And it’s hard because you sometimes think that no matter what you do, we’re not going to go anywhere.”
Many of the Dreamers who spoke had similar back stories. Their families were in search for a better opportunity, but faced a lot of closed doors as they grew up in America.
“They grew up the same way as I did and they didn’t want that life for me,” said Evelyn Marquez Auza, about her parents.
For more information on how the church is fighting for these young individuals brought into the United States by their parents as children, visit camdendiocese.org/dreamers.
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