By Jhonatan Ferrer, guest blogger, and NILC staff
FEBRUARY 13, 2018
I came to the United States when I was eleven. I was unaware that I was undocumented until I was around thirteen. I did not understand at the time the implications this would have in my life. But I have come to learn that it affects me greatly.
Before DACA I was unable to work as an engineer, and I did not have access to health care or even student loans. However, with DACA I have been able to work towards a better future. Now I work as an engineer for the automotive industry.
Chances are that if you drive a Ford or GM vehicle you have an HVAC system designed by me and my team. I have even completed my graduate degree in aerospace engineering. I have bought a house, and I support my family financially, including helping pay for my sister’s college tuition.
I think that DACA has changed my future greatly. I look forward to the Dream Act or similar comprehensive immigration reform being passed in Congress. This will assure that the protections I have under DACA are maintained and that I get to contribute to society as much as I can.
♦ ♦ ♦
SINCE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION terminated the DACA program, over 19,000 DACA recipients like Jhonatan have lost their protected status. Each day that Congress fails to pass a legislative solution for these bright and talented individuals, 122 DACA recipients lose their protected status. And starting March 5 when the program is slated to end, about 1,000 DACA recipients will lose their protected status daily.
These immigrant youths are America’s children — they are doctors, engineers, first responders, military servicemembers, and vital to our communities and families. DACA recipients also contribute greatly to our economy every day.
Jhonatan works in the automotive industry, revolutionizing the cars we drive. When his DACA expires, he will lose the ability to provide for his family, and America’s automotive industry will lose a talented engineer.
But this doesn’t have to be Jhonatan’s, or the country’s, fate. Eighty-seven percent of Americans support allowing DACA recipients to remain in the U.S., and 80 percent of likely voters in swing district believe Congress should protect them from deportation. It’s long past due for Congress to act.
Jhonatan Ferrer is an automotive engineer, small business owner, and DACA recipient from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
To learn more about what you can do to help people like Jhonatan, visit www.nilc.org. And you can do more: call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and insist that your senators and representatives support and vote for the bipartisan Dream Act now!