Recently, House Democrats introduced a bill to protect Dreamers — young immigrants who, like me, came to this country as children and want nothing more than the chance to live and work without fear of deportation. Like 13,000 other Nevadans, I have been on a roller coaster of fear and anxiety since President Donald Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program a year and a half ago. Saving DACA would let me keep my job as a sales assistant at a local advertising agency and let Dreamers continue to contribute to the economy. About 93 percent of the DACA-eligible population are employed; in Nevada alone, they earn nearly $300 million and contribute nearly $37 million in state and local taxes.
The House bill would also let me work toward my dream of becoming a mental health counselor and filling a critical need in Nevada, which in 2017 ranked as the worst state in the nation for mental health services. I’ve spent nights and weekends working toward a psychology degree at the College of Southern Nevada. Ever since I arrived here from Mexico with my parents when I was 6 years old, I’ve longed for a sense of belonging and the ability to give back to the country that I love. That’s why I’m urging Congress to pass this legislation and let us Dreamers get back to the business of planning for our futures. I’m hoping mine will include the chance to help our state’s most vulnerable citizens.