Mother of three Dreamers holds fast on Hill for passage of DREAM Act

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard

By Kelly Sankowski

(CNS) — Antonia Alvarez, the mother of three DACA recipients and one U.S.
States citizen, began a 10-day fast Dec. 4 outside of the Capitol in Washington
to advocate for the passage of the DREAM Act.

measure would allow her children and 800,000 other Dreamers to remain in the
country and gain a path to citizenship.

is originally from Mexico City and said she immigrated to the United States 16
years ago because of dangerous conditions in Mexico. She currently lives in New
Brighton, Minnesota, where she has done similar fasts throughout the past few

after President Donald Trump announced in September that he would end DACA, the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, there was added
urgency to Alvarez’s advocacy.

get the attention of members of Congress, she decided she would need to travel
to hold a fast right in front of their offices. In ending DACA, Trump called on
Congress to come up with a legislative solution to keep the program by March. Many
are calling for passage of the proposed Development, Relief and Education for
Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, to do just that.

a parishioner of Incarnation Sagrado Corazon in Minneapolis, traveled to
Washington with a group of leaders from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and
Minneapolis to speak with congressional leaders, then stayed behind to carry
out the fast.

said she planned to fast until passage of the DREAM Act or when Congress is scheduled to
recess for the holidays Dec. 15.

day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., she planned to sit in a section of the Capitol
grounds directly between the House office buildings and the Capitol, urging
lawmakers take action on the bill.

I said, ‘God, I stay alone,'” she said, expressing fear about doing this by
herself. “But I listen, (and hear) ‘You’re not alone.'”

she really isn’t alone. Daniel Galan, a 25-year-old electrician from Chicago, who
saw on Facebook what Alvarez was doing and decided to hop on a bus from
Illinois to join her.

a parishioner of St. Paul Catholic Church on Chicago’s South Side, was brought
to the United States from Mexico City at age 8. He and his girlfriend are both
DACA recipients, so he said he was doing the fast for the both of them, as well
as for many other Dreamers he knows who couldn’t make the trip to Washington.

family is poor. My mom didn’t see any future for me in Mexico, so she brought
me here so I could go to school, work, and become something of myself,” Galan told
the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.

three children who are DACA recipients are 24, 25 and 28 years old. Her oldest
child is a businessman, and the other two are in school, with one getting her
bachelor’s degree and the other pursuing her master’s degree. She also has a
12-year-old daughter who is a United States citizen.

day she is crying for her brother and two sisters,” Alvarez said.

who has a house cleaning business in Minnesota, said her family has paid for
all of her children’s education.

don’t want crumbs,” she said. “We are working for everything.”

herself, Alvarez’s kids are now in the legal system, she pointed out, since
they had to give personal information and go through a vetting process to be
covered by DACA. This would make it easier for them to get deported.

(Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has all of our information,” said Galan.
“They know where to find us, know where we live and know where we work.”

was catching the attention of several members of Congress who have come out to
speak with her, some of them bringing her hot water or inviting her inside for
a break. But Alvarez declined to go inside, and instead invited them to come
visit her whenever they want a break.

the two stood outside next to their table that supports a large cross, Galan spoke
about his hopes for the future. He has not seen his dad since he left Mexico,
but speaks to him frequently; Galan’s mother and brother live in the United

hopes to someday get a green card so he will be able to travel back and forth to
visit his dad, and maybe someday bring him to the U.S. legally if he becomes a

hopes to start his own electric company. But he fears that he will lose his job
once his DACA benefits expire, since the company he works for checks on employees’
legal status. He recently renewed his DACA participation; it expires in March

until Congress passes a more permanent piece of legislation, Galan said he
would “be contemplating the day I lose everything I’ve worked for.”

her family’s situation, Alvarez said, “My kids are afraid, but I’m not afraid.
I’m fighting for protecting my children ‘Always I pray to God, always I believe
in God, always my faith is in God.”

tears in her eyes, Alvarez said one of her daughters feels so afraid that she
wants to leave the country and move to Ghana, where her boyfriend is from,
because she thinks they would not be discriminated against there.

said she not only prayed for her own family and for Dreamers, but also for Trump,
asking God to bless him.

angry, but (I don’t) hate. That is not my position,” she added.

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is a reporter at the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of

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