NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Dreamers spoke out at Rutgers today. They were joined by lawmakers, community leaders and immigration advocates. Tearfully, they explained that their life in the U.S. is all they know.
"At the age of one, I crossed the border with my mom," said Yeimi Hernandez, 17.
She said the arduous journey to cross into the U.S. from Mexico resulted in her being separated from her mother. They were eventually reunited in Los Angeles and settled down in Freehold, New Jersey.
"I’ve lived there my whole life," she said, through tears. "This is all I know."
On news that Trump will end DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, her worst fears were realized. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Obama-era policy would be rescinded today at the Justice Department.
As a child, Hernandez recalls being bullied for her immigration status.
"I was told by someone else who was a year older than me that I would never become anything in my life."
But she remembers the words of her mother.
"She said you have to be strong," translating her mothers words from Spanish. "You are going to be someone in life."
Today, she was joined by other dreamers, religious leaders and lawmakers at Rutgers Univeristy. Together, they are calling on Trump to preserve DACA.
Under DACA, nearly 800,000 young people have been able to get jobs, study at universities and start families in the U.S. It was enacted five years ago.
Other dreamers shared their struggles of being unable to apply to certain colleges, apply for jobs or get a license due to their legal status.
"I want to attend college," said Hernandez. "I do want to become something in life because that is why I’m here. I want to be an immigration attorney. And I don’t want this dream to be shattered because DACA is going to be repealed."