Every election is bittersweet for me.
On the one hand it’s a reminder of the ideals my family dreamed about experiencing in America: democracy, freedom, justice and equality.
On the other hand it’s been hard to hold on to hope year-after-year.
For people who can’t vote, or even know or remember those who couldn’t vote, this election — this midterm election — is important. This is the first year my 18- year -old sister can vote on behalf of our family and others like us.
While I was excited to see her get to vote this week, part of me still feels the sting of broken promises. I often think about the injustices of people who have worked legally in the United States since they were very young, of being good citizens, helping others and paying taxes but still the only nation that they know calls them illegal and undocumented.
Isn’t funny how the IRS knows just where to find “undocumented” people?
And while the US government knows where to find them, I feel like the government is missing in action when it comes to finding a fair solution for those lost in a broken immigration system.
The last time I had hope was when the Obama administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, in 2012. The act temporarily shielded certain immigrants from deportation and made then eligible for work permits. The program allowed for infinite renewals, but was considered a stopgap measure until Congress could address immigration reform.
DACA allowed dreamers to avoid deportation — that shield could be gone any day now.
Congress had an opportunity to intervene once but it failed. Then came the move of the Trump administration to end DACA a year ago, but federal courts have blocked it and stepped in, but only to throw the responsibility somewhere else, it seems.
Where exactly, I don’t know.
It’s almost like the childhood game of “keep away.”
It’s understandable why it’s hard for some of immigrants to hold on to hope as families and livelihoods hang in the balance. It pains me to hear the despair in the voices of those who have the opportunity to vote, but choose not to.
I urge everyone who can, to vote! You have the power to speak for yourself and millions of others who have no voice at all in each election.
Don’t let your voice be taken! Vote!
Miriam Valle works in the nonprofit sector and serves as a translator for Partners for Youth Opportunity. She been working in the Non-Profit Sector for 10 years, and it all started as a job opportunity which she says then became the purpose in her life. She is driven by a passion for people, particularly the youth. She tells us, “PYO is a place of support and opportunities, we all work together and give our heart and soul to make things happen for our students and families. We are a family that’s unbreakable and that’s what every person needs, someone stable and available to keep you together throughout life.”