Phoenix, Arizona—Tonight, the Marco Lopez for Governor campaign hosted a roundtable with Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, many times referred to as the DREAMERs, and their families. The mission of the roundtable was to facilitate a discussion in which Marco could hear directly from DREAMERs and their families about their experiences in Arizona and beyond, and open a dialogue about pressing immigration issues.
“For our DREAMERs, this is the only country they’ve ever known,” said Marco Lopez, Democratic candidate for governor. “They are our current and future service members, business owners, teachers and medical professionals, and as governor I will push the federal government and federal elected officials to give them and their families U.S. citizenship.”
You can view a recording of the roundtable here.
Ten years ago, President Obama issued the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) via executive order. The purpose of the program was to shield young undocumented immigrants, who often came to the United States in circumstances beyond their control, from deportation and give them access to work permits. There are approximately 800,000 DREAMERs living in the United States.
“It’s just scary, because tomorrow, they can say no more DACA,” said one participant, a DACA recipient.
“I remember sitting in the living room when Obama announced [DACA] and I started crying that [my husband] qualified for it,” said one participant, who did not fall into the age requirement to qualify for DACA protections but her husband did. “It’s like community–we all help each other.”
State Representative Melody Hernandez (D-Mesa), who joined the roundtable, shared a story about a work colleague who serves Arizona as a firefighter and is himself a DACA recipient.
“He talked about the fear that he has every single day because he’s so scared about leaving his two beautiful little girls behind,” said Representative Hernandez. “I could not understand how someone who gives so much to the community, who literally walks into burning buildings, could lose the opportunity to live here.”
Giving DREAMERs and their families U.S. citizenship has been a key tenet of Marco Lopez’s border and immigration policy. In last night’s Democratic debate, in which Marco was the only participant, Marco emphasized his resolve to push the federal government to resolve citizenship status for DACA recipients and provide a pathway to citizenship for their families.
Hearing directly from Arizonans about their concerns and hopes has been a priority for Marco Lopez while campaigning for governor. For the past 16 months, Marco has been visiting Arizona’s 15 counties and 22 tribes, speaking with voters and sharing his vision to restore the promise of Arizona.
Marco Lopez is running for governor because he believes in the Promise of Arizona – the promise that if you work hard, play by the rules, and treat people with respect then you can make it here in our state. It’s this idea that led Marco’s parents to immigrate to Arizona from Mexico nearly 50 years ago. They didn’t start out with much, but they dreamed that Marco and his sisters could do better than they did. That’s just what happened—Marco and his sisters were the first generation in their family to go to college. Once Marco graduated from the University of Arizona, he knew he had to give back. At just 21-years-old he ran for mayor of his hometown of Nogales and won, becoming one of the youngest mayors in the country. After winning two mayoral elections, Governor Napolitano asked Marco to serve at the state level as Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce where he oversaw critical trade relationships in the state. Next, President Obama asked Marco to serve at the national level, where he oversaw a $13 billion budget and 60,000 people. In 2011, Marco left the administration to start his own small business here in Arizona just like his parents had done 40 years before. Over the past ten years Connect2Compete has brought high speed internet to one million low income families nationally, and in Mesa, AZ, SkyBridge Arizona is on track to create 15,000 quality Arizona jobs. Marco is running for governor because he believes the Promise of Arizona is still possible, but for too many people in our state today it’s out of reach. Marco has the leadership experience in the private and public sector to make that promise of opportunity that brought his parents to Arizona a reality for everyone. For more information, please visit www.marcolopez.com.