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‘America is a land of dreams’: Local dreamers optimistic following Biden executive orders

Lorena Islas and Daniela Donoso are both DACA recipients and use their time to work with...
Lorena Islas and Daniela Donoso are both DACA recipients and use their time to work with undocumented immigrants. Both say they are optimistic about their future.(WCTV)
Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 9:29 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - On Tuesday, President Biden made immigration a top priority, signing three executive orders, including a call to reunite hundreds of children with their parents.

For local immigration activists, the change in the White House brings with it plenty of hope. But will it turn into action?

Those who came to the U.S. illegally as children are known as “dreamers.” It’s a term now familiar to anyone who has followed the last decade of the immigration debate. The question now is, what happens next?

Hours after taking the oath of office, President Biden sent the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to Capitol Hill.

While not yet introduced in Congress, the legislation aims to, among other things, give dreamers an immediate green card and a three-year path to citizenship.

For local dreamers, it’s a glimmer of light at the end of a long tunnel.

“It would be a huge win for the immigrant community,” said Daniela Donoso, a Equal Justice Works Fellow with Legal Services of North Floirda.

She is also one of the more than 24,000 undocumented immigrants who are DACA recipients in Florida.

“The last four years have been really hard. In doing the work, but also feeling like the political bargaining chip,” she said.

Donoso helps undocumented victims of crime, among others, and argues the immigrant community is constantly misunderstood.

“There’s a lot of people in this country who have been here 10, 20 years, who just want to be able to safely drive their children to school and go to work and continue to contribute to their communities,” she explained.

Lorena Islas is another Tallahassee Dreamer, hoping for a more stable life with her partner she can’t legally marry and her six-year-old daughter.

“A roller coaster for everyone,” Islas said. “As we have always said, America is a land of dreams.”

But, even now, nothing is certain.

While Biden plans to secure DACA for the moment, Republicans aren’t showing support for broad reform, including both of Florida’s senators.

Sen. Marco Rubio called the measures “blanket amnesty,” on Tuesday, while Sen. Rick Scott described it as a “radical immigration plan.”

While opposed to the current proposed legislation, both Florida senators have publically showed support for the DACA program in the past.

Despite pushback, dreamers are pushing ahead with a smile.

“I’m hopeful,” Donoso said.

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