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Politics & Government

On The Nine Year Anniversary Of DACA, One Recipient Calls On Sen. Romney To Pass The American Promise Dream Act

DACA recipient Ciriac Alvarez Valle
Courtesy Ciriac Alvarez Valle
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Ciriac Alvarez Valle is calling on Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, to vote yes to the American Promise Dream Act, and help create a way for her to become a citizen.

On the nine year anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation, or DACA, the U.S. Senate has begun to hear legislation that could provide a pathway to citizenship for recipients and Dreamers.

For Ciriac Alvarez Valle and Alonso Reyna Rivarola, the program’s expiration date looms over their lives.

Both were brought to the U.S. unlawfully by their parents as children and were able to work and go to school through the program.

“Most of my life has been here in Utah,” Alvarez Valle said. “And like many Dreamers like myself — many undocumented immigrants — this is like the only place I've known as home.”

Under DACA there’s currently no pathway to citizenship. Every two years, like clockwork, recipients go through the renewal process without any guarantees of something more permanent.

Reyna Rivarola came to the U.S. 20 years ago. He said it can be emotionally devastating and dehumanizing to continue in this cycle.

“You are asked to provide all this information and documentation and payment to prove yourself worthy enough to have this permit, that will only last two years,” Reyna Rivarola said. “I have a collection of DACA permits, you know, sitting at home and I think they'll just keep growing.”

Alvarez Valle entered the program during her senior year of high school. By the time she was finishing up college at the University of Utah, the program was being threatened by the Trump Administration.

She said while her status grants her the ability to work legally and gives her some sense of stability — it’s still very unpredictable.

“When I reapply, I'm like, ‘What if this isn't here in three years?’ Like what am I going to do then if there's no pathway to citizenship?” Alvarez Valle said.

There’s a mix of skepticism and hope for Alvarez Valle and Reyna Rivarola, as the U.S. Senate holds hearings for the American Promise Dream Act.

Alvarez Valle said she’s calling on Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, to vote yes to the legislation.

“We could get 60 votes in the Senate,” Alvarez Valle said. “I think there's enough support for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, undocumented youth — it's just about pushing through the bipartisanship.”

She said she hopes this is the year where there are more permanent protections for immigrants like herself.

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