SPRINGFIELD, Kentucky – Holding the Lectionary high, Mirna Lozano processed into St. Dominic Church in late October during the parish’s first young adult Mass, which she organized with the help of her father, Rodrigo.
The father-daughter duo recently earned certification in youth ministry through the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Youth and Young Adults. They are looking forward to seeing youth ministry grow at the parish.
But Mirna’s future in Springfield is uncertain. The 19-year-old native of Mexico was brought to the United States without proper documentation when she was 4 years old. The U.S. is the only home she knows.
For now, she’s protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the program – which protects 800,000 young people from deportation – leaves an uncertain future though.
What’s more certain for Mirna and other young Hispanics is fear.
Trump called on lawmakers in Washington to pass a measure to preserve DACA. To that end, advocates around the country have rallied to urge passage of the DREAM Act – the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act – to provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries, but Congress has yet to act.
The young people who would benefit from the act’s passage, known as “Dreamers,” are afraid they will have to give up their lives in the U.S. and be forced to return to countries they barely remember.
Mirna, who hopes to be a teacher and youth minister, said she feels her future lies in the hands of the federal government. She has voluntarily registered under DACA.
“This is our country. This is all we know,” she told The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Mirna, her father and a group of six other young people, including her younger sister Dora, shared their journeys after the Mass at St. Dominic.
Rodrigo Lozano said his family moved to the U.S. 15 years ago, trading the suffocating violence of Mexico City for the sleepy rural community of Springfield, 59 miles southeast of Louisville. Mirna was 4 and Dora only 3.
He said he came looking for a “better … more peaceful life” for his family. “It’s every parents’ dream,” he said.
By Ruby Thomas and Jessica Able for CRUX
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