ATLAS:DIY
EMPOWERING IMMIGRANT YOUTH AND THEIR ALLIES
UNLOCKING IMMIGRANT YOUTH'S ACCESS TO LEGAL SERVICES, LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES IN A SPACE OWNED RUN AND GOVERNED BY THE YOUTH.
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February 16, 2016
Project ACCESS – Isabel

The following is a submission from Isabel – a participant in ATLAS: DIY’s Project ACCESS. In 2012, Atlas DIY developed the idea of ACCESS lawyering. The premise for Project ACCESS was the realization that the law had strayed too far from the hands and understanding of the individual. We say that our clients and the immigrant community were aware of laws limiting their activities but knew very little about the laws and regulations put in place for their protection. This created an opportunity for exploitation, and many of our clients had been abused in different areas of our life. Thus Project ACCESS came into being.​

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As many other undocumented youth, I fear deportation. Many times I have thought about where my hopes and dreams would go if I were to get sent back to Mexico. Like many, I was brought to the U.S by my parents at a very young age. Graduating high school with honors and being admitted into college is the biggest accomplishment that I have so far. However, passion and determination is not the only things needed in order to succeed, work- authorization and losing the fear of being deported is also quite important.

The day I heard President Obama’s announcement about Deferred Action, I could not believe it. It sounded amazing, but I also knew that it was mostly politics. Through out the summer I tried to find out as much information as I could about the topic. I was afraid of ending up in a worse situation then what I was already in. At first I decided not to apply because I was afraid of something going wrong.

Despite my initial response, I went to Atlas DIY where I spoke to Lauren Burke and her student about the positive impact that Deferred Action could bring to me. Even though this is a temporary solution, it is only the beginning of better things. My biggest fear is that immigration now has all my record and can locate me easily. Also that DACA is only temporary and that fear of not being able to get anywhere will eventually come back. I know all the benefits of Deferred Action, but I often think more about the disadvantages of being undocumented and how this is not a solution.

Even though I had recently graduated from high school, obtaining my transcripts from primary and elementary school was not easy. It took a couple of weeks to locate my transcripts and get all my paperwork together. Despite the fact that I was able to the transcripts, I know that for many this process is not easy and for some even impossible. There are many barriers in this process, but the only advice I can really give is be willing to over come anything that stands in the way. Before, applying for DACA, I suggest to get informed and make sure that you know all the advantages and disadvantages that this can bring.

Fear is acceptable, but overcoming the obstacles in the way is the only way to reach dreams. Many times, taking risks is the only way to win. Although I am not sure what is to come next, I will patiently wait for my response and continue meeting my goals by attending college. While Deferred Action is the proof that the topic of immigration is now on the table of the government, continuing to fight for a real solution is still crucial.

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