Hope is highlighted on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel for its work with DACA serving as a reminder (as if we needed a reminder!) of how important our collective work is in creating a more humane and just world. We’re grateful for our partnership.
Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the DACA program. This program intends to provide peace of mind to law-abiding and upstanding young people brought to the United States as minors, also known as Dreamers, who are not a priority for deportation. Unfortunately, that peace of mind has yet to come.
Hope was highlighted on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel for its work with DACA. We are very proud that our work has positively impacted over 1,000 DACA recipients in Central Florida over the past ten years. Several now work with us, including our new executive director, 36-year-old Brazilian Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet.
Ten years later more than 23,600 Floridians are stuck in the program’s legal limbo, entangled in a maze of limitations and regulations that restrict travel and make it challenging to obtain loans. As if that wasn’t enough, this program needs to be renewed every two years, and it is not cheap. Recipients of this program must pay $495, not including attorney expenses.
The restrictions and the payments are no comparison to the fear that comes with knowing that, while a person might be entitled to be a part of the program, other family members are not. Our executive director, Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet, spoke to the Orlando Sentinel about this fear that festers among mixed-status families.
Just as Hope CommUnity Center has made it our mission to advocate for immigrants, Felipe has had the same calling since very early in his life. In 2010–two years before the establishment of DACA–at just 23 years old, he and three other Miami-Dade County College Students marched in the Trail of Dreams, walking nearly 1,500 miles in four months from Miami to Washington D.C. Their goal was to bring attention to the Dreamers, push for administrative action, and advocate for meaningful immigration reform.
Since then, Felipe feels a great sense of responsibility to continue advocating for justice so others can have a chance to thrive and not just survive. After obtaining citizenship last year, 21 years after arriving in the US, that sense of responsibility has only grown.
And this is where his work and the work of Hope CommUnity Center combines and thrives! Our Advocacy programs aim to make a positive impact for immigrants in Central Florida and all over the country. We will continue to fight and advocate for what is right!
If you want to join our advocacy programs and fight for causes you believe in, visit our website!