By MICHELLE VELEZ
Three young undocumented immigrants shed tears of emotion as they described their hopes and fears Thursday at a campus event focused on the upcoming DACA case scheduled to be heard by the US Supreme Court on November 12.
“I did everything I was told to do,” said Antonio Alarcon, a co-plaintiff in the case and a student at LaGuardia Community College in Queens where the event was held. “I was a good student, a good citizen. And now because of the lack of those nine digits, I am told I won’t be able to apply to my dream schools.”
DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy was enacted by President Obama to protect nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Plans to phase out this policy was announced by the Trump administration on September 2017 but the enforcement has been placed on hold in several courts.
Alarcon and Martin Batalla Vidal, a criminal justice student and the lead plaintiff in the case, will go to the Supreme Court where the future of DACA recipients, or ‘Dreamers’, was likely to be determined.
At the campus panel discussion the young men narrated how this case came together, the struggles they found along the way and their experience as immigrant students in New York. Vidal is a student at the college and Alarcon is an alumnus. They were joined by another alumnus and DACA recipient, Ricardo Aca who once worked as a waiter at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
Aca described how while working there he tried to counter Donald Trump’s derogatory remarks against Mexicans by taking photographs and videos of immigrants with their families holding signs with words such as ‘Leaders’, ‘Americans’, and ‘Not a Criminal’.
Tears came to the activist’s eyes while speaking about their families, Vidal described how scared his mother was that immigration services would deport family members.
“Our parents made so much sacrifice for us to be on this panel.,” said Alarcon whose parents were deported some years ago. “If our parents had not crossed the border, worked two or three jobs, we would not be here. ”
In a choked voice he added, “And I know that on November 12, I will be sitting in that Supreme Court, and my parents will not be there but I know that in spirit they will be. I know that the 11 million who are undocumented in this country will be. Because we know that their sacrifices will not be in vain.”
Photo of ‘Dreamers’ with LaGuardia Interim President Paul Arcario