A message from Selena, a DREAMer:
For many of you, this democratic race may mean nothing, but for me it means everything. My voice is being heard loud and clear by presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. I was honored to be his guest at TSU for the 3rd Democratic Debate. As a daughter of immigrants, Grad student, and a DREAMer in all the senses of the word. I have lived a life of uncertainty for far too long. For many years no one has ever asked me what I need from them, but it took this guy to come down from South Bend, Indiana and tell me I see you…you do belong…this is no longer about me…this moment is about YOU, your FAMILY, and your COMMUNITY. I am forever grateful that he has brought out the BEST OF ME! I no longer live in fear, because this fight is not about me. This fight is for everyone who has felt like they have no voice. I have learned to use my anger and turn it into advocacy. This is me now! This is you now! THIS IS OUR VOICE!
My name is Selena Garcia and I am a DREAMer — in every sense of the word.
When I was brought to the United States, I was just two months old. People told me what my mother did was illegal. But in reality, it was something that she had to do. She gave me a life that she could have never given me if she stayed where she lived.
It is because of my mother’s decision that I am able to pursue a Master’s degree in political social work today, and that I am able to apply to law school. My mother’s decision changed my life because she gave me the opportunity to dream.
I worked my way here without anyone asking me, “What can I do for you?” It took someone from South Bend, Indiana to come to Houston, Texas and tell me, “I see you. You belong.” Pete took the time to sit down with Black and Latino student leaders, faculty mentors, and me at my undergraduate university to hear our stories. I always say that Pete could have chosen any university to visit, but he chose to find a university that was just starting to be acknowledged.
It truly felt like he was there because he cared, and wanted to hear and understand the things that are surrounding us.
Later that day I got to see Pete with my mentor at a grassroots rally where he spoke about security, immigration, protecting our democracy, and the importance of hope. When he saw me, he expressed how grateful he was that I attended the event. Before sharing my story he also asked me if it was okay to share it with his supporters. He did not make it his story. He was using his platform to make sure people knew my story.
And today, Pete released his immigration policy. I am so proud of the plan and know that we need a leader like Pete who is not afraid to introduce solutions bold enough to meet the challenges we face and big enough to bring people together to get them done.
Pete will modernize our immigration system to reflect our economic needs and our values. He will prioritize family unity by reducing the green card backlog and eliminating bars to reentry so families can be together. Pete will protect the border and the people who arrive there and engage with the global community to welcome refugees to our shores and unleash innovation and new partnerships that extend humanitarian protection for those who need it.
Under the Buttigieg administration and with this policy enacted, I will be a proud American living in this country that is my home. I will have a path to citizenship.
I am an immigrant, I am a student, I am a daughter, I am an American, I am a DREAMer. I dream for myself, I dream for my family, I dream for my community.
I am not an outsider.