At the State House, on Monday June 18, 2018, around five thirty pm, the room was full. Smiling and excited, we were there to witness this historic step toward hope for the Dreamers with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status. Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law a bill that guarantees Dreamers the right to apply for drivers licenses in the State of Rhode Island.
With this bill (H7982, S2678) sponsored respectively by Representative Shelby Maldonado in the House and Senate majority Michael McCaffrey in the Senate, current or past status DACA recipients can finally hope for a better future regardless what will happen at the federal level.
Under former President Barack Obama, an estimated of 3000 DACA recipients in Rhode Island were protected. With federal protections, Dreamers were able to go to school, drive and work. As the new administration rescinded DACA, Dreamers can no longer benefit these protections.
With the repealing of DACA, Hope and Change for Haiti knew something has to be done and that is the reason why when Rodrigo Pimentel, the instigator of this victory, called me to join in the fight I was so thrilled to answer yes.
Indeed, every Wednesday with Rodrigo Pimentel, Diane Barense and so many more at Planned Parenthood, I volunteered to phone banking during that uncertain time to calling our Congressmen and constituents to take action to protect Dreamers. It is said that hard work always paid off. That is so true. I am so grateful for our lawmakers, our Governor, all the volunteers and Planned Parenthood who contribute to make this possible.
There still are a lot do. The fights continue for the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) recipient’s status. As our Haitian fellows TPS status live on the uncertainty of their future, their situation is different. They are dreamed of a better future for their family and children. They work here, they go to school here and they contribute to the economy as well. Lets’ keep the momentum.