Every day, they come to my law office and other law offices all over Sonoma County now. They come with tidy stacks of records from their years of life in the United States – vaccination cards, dog-eared school grade cards, pay stubs from high school jobs, college awards. The older ones come by themselves or with their spouses. The younger ones come with anxious parents. All of them are expectant, nervous but hopeful.
These are the DREAMers, the young people covered by President Obama’s Executive Order, effectively implementing the DREAM Act, which Congress could not pass. They are undocumented youth brought here by their parents, usually without a visa. They have grown up in our county without papers: without a social security card, without a driver’s license, without a real future.
They attend high school with our kids. They wait on us at restaurants. They often excel at Santa Rosa Junior College or Sonoma State. Our county has been enriched by their presence and yet they have suffered with the fear, the anxiety and the helplessness that goes along with lacking legal status from the US government. They were unable to get school financial aid or move forward with a career. Most cannot even drive legally. If they did, they risked being deported to a country many of them never knew.
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