DACA Vigil held to bring Lexington community together
LEXINGTON, Neb. —
Dreamers are still in limbo after lawmakers failed to find a solution for those who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented children.
Sunday, the Trinidad Center, an immigration advocacy group, tried to bridge the gap between community members and immigrants in hopes of finding a solution.
The DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals affects roughly 800,000 people, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
"We're no different. We're not criminals and honestly, just get to know us," Gladys Godinez from the Trinidad Center said.
Godinez said it's important to put a face to an immigrant before making any assumptions about dreamers. She said it’s time for immigrants and non-immigrants to work together to solve this and the first step is talking.
"We have to come up with something–some solutions and one of those ways is to be able to converse with our neighbors and be able to tell them a little bit about our stories. So, they themselves can see themselves in our stories and advocate on behalf of us," Godinez said.
The group starting out with the documentary 'We Are Dreamers' to show them how dreamers here in Nebraska live.
"And those stories echo many of the students here in Lexington's stories," Mary Bergstorm, Lexington High School Librarian, said.
Bergstorm said working with young people in such a diverse community made her want to use her voice to advocate for those who don't have one. That’s why she went to the Vigil.
"We need to have those conversations and what we heard in that movie today was the economic impact–what is the real information. People go with a lot of emotional information in what they think they know,” Bergstorm said.
Congressman Adrian Smith agrees that something needs to be done.
"I think a broad approach to immigration reform is needed," he said.
Smith said there are parts of our immigration system that do need a lot of work including border control and immigration reform.
"I think merit based immigration, similar to Canada and Australia; that makes a lot of sense. So, let's work together on this. It seems that some in Washington would use this issue to divide us– our country is really about more than that," Smith said.
Smith said he and other government officials are working on Capitol Hill to find an everlasting solution.
But for some dreamers the feeling will continue to feel uneasy until the day it’s solved.
"Living under the shadows or in the shadows, or what not, is a very scary process. We don't know what to do. We don't know how to live, if we do, we are in survival mode 100 percent of the time," Godinez said.
President Donald Trump ended the DACA program earlier this year, which is set to expire March 5, but a federal judge blocked that decision creating more unanswered questions for dreamers.
Once the event ended, people were encouraged to write down prayers, and ways they can take action on behalf of immigrants.