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Local DACA recipients become outspoken on immigration deal

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Dozens of DACA recipients and advocates rallied in downtown Las Cruces Friday morning.

“We’re walking to the offices of Sen. Tom Udall to thank him for withholding their vote on the spending bill if it does not include a DREAM Act,” said Roberto Valadez, a DACA recipient.

Valadez was brought to the United States by his parents when he was 1 year old. He’s lived in east El Paso his whole life and now works with Soñando Juntos.

“I knew that I was undocumented since I was 5. That shaped my entire world, my entire life. I had to learn how to move different from other people, but it’s made me who I am today,” said Valadez.

Valadez recalls taking the responsibility of translating for his parents and having to schedule appointments on their behalf since he was 10 years old.

“It’s what thousands of people grew up doing and today still grow up like that,” said Valadez.

There are an estimated 9,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries in El Paso, according to congressmanBeto O’Rourke (TX-16).

Valadez and several other DACA recipients recently started being outspoken about their immigration status.

“I kind of always stayed quiet about it because of the way that I was raised not speak up about it. Now I understand this is what empowers the people,” said Noé Labrado, who says he was brought to the U.S. from Ciudad Juarez when he was 6 years old.

Labrado says he’s just one semester away from finishing his bachelor of science in physics at the University of Texas at El Paso. If he receives a path to legally remain in the U.S., he’s hopeful he'll be admitted into an atmospheric science graduate program where he can study severe weather phenomena and tornadoes.

“Hopefully I can join a team where we can help get better warning systems out for weather and other phenomenons that affect the country,” said Labrado.

Labrado began advocating for immigration rights in September. He says he always missed out on school field trips and was advised not to speak about his immigration status with anyone, including Border Patrol agents.

“It was sort of like living in the shadows. Many of us are still living in the shadows right now, just like many of our parents. That’s why I decided to come out and tell my story,” said Labrado.

“If [others] don’t want to talk about it publicly, they can at least find those teams and organizations that are working towards the same goal. Have that team to back you up,” said Labrado.

Labrado is a part of Soñando Juntos, an El Paso affiliate of United We Dream.

A bipartisan agreement among a handful of senators would prevent deportation of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and it would include a pathway to citizenship that would take up to 12 years, The Associated Press reports.

The Associated Press also obtained details of the deal, which includes $1.6 billion for structures including a wall for border security.

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