Notes from a DACA Recipient: Finally a Weight Is Lifted
I couldn’t help but smile under my mask, seeing social media explode with the news that Donald Trump lost the presidency this weekend. I was on the bus on my way to work. The fourth day of waiting for my fate. As a young adult with DACA, my future was tied to this election — I had so much riding on it. I immediately began texting every one of my closest friends.
But it wasn’t until later in the day that the news hit me, when I got messages from friends telling me to “ride the good energy.” It may sound cliché, but it really felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. The anxiety felt by the nation has been one that has been felt especially by people like me, people who are part of marginalized communities. The defeat of Donald Trump meant life or death to those communities that his administration willfully ignored or actively tried to pursue.
I was out in the neighborhoods of San Francisco in the celebrations. And I wore my mask, but I wanted to revel with the big crowds in the city and celebrate with the communities that I grew to feel a part of — the LGBTQ+ district in the Castro, the Latinx community in the Mission. Despite the COVID restrictions, it almost felt like everyone needed a win in 2020 and we were willing to risk it to rejoice in the moment.
I talked to my sisters shortly after the news and my first thought was that my sister Eva would finally be able to renew her DACA without fear of it being denied or being put into deportation proceedings. I immediately thought of other undocumented immigrants who, with a Biden administration, have renewed hope that once and for all, we’ll achieve citizenship for all.
According to Joe Biden’s campaign website — which of course I’ve been checking and refreshing — he plans to work with Congress “keeping families together by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants.”
It is my hope that in the coming years, we begin to see the Biden-Harris administration do just that, with the support of Congress. But immigration is not the only issue I’m watching. It is clear that we are headed towards a climate crisis and with Biden promising to re-enlist the United States into the Paris climate accord, I only hope to see the U.S. take climate change seriously after all the warning signs so many of us have lived through. I have SO many hopes for the next four years. It is renewed hope that the past four had managed to break down and smash into little pieces.
Now, with the renewed spirit of activism across the country, we must continue to push for the change we want, no matter who’s in office. The U.S. has allowed Trump to take so much from me, my family and my communities. But now, with him gone, we can be sure in saying he will not take our hope with him.
Juan Mireles-Palomar is part of a collaboration between YR Media and WNYC’s Radio Rookies called 18-to-29 Now: Young America Speaks Up. It’s an election project that brings together young adults (18-to-29) from around the country to document their lives and what’s at stake for them in 2020.