Undocumented DREAMer: ‘We’ve invested in this community’

Saavedra, who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when he was three years old by his parents, is one of hundreds of thousands of “DREAMers” who now fear they won’t be able to remain in the U.S. should Trump act on some of his anti-immigration campaign promises.

President-elect Trump has vowed to deport 2 to 3 million “criminal aliens” and to repeal an executive order that provides temporary protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

Put in place by President Obama six years ago, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has helped hundreds of thousands of young people — the DREAMers — come out from the shadows and get a valid driver’s license, enroll in college and legally secure jobs. Now those who have registered with the government through the DACA program fear they may be deported.

Related: DREAMers fear nightmare scenario in Trump’s America

“A lot of undocumented youth throughout the country are saying that they have, obviously, very real concerns,” said Saavedra, who is now 26. “Fear can be so powerful of an emotion that it can be almost paralyzing.”

But instead of standing still, Saavedra hopes Trump’s election will unite undocumented immigrants and spur them to stand up for their rights. In order for their voices to be heard, he believes immigrants rights supporters should start by reaching out to their government

representatives and, in certain cases, engaging in non-violent protests.

“They’re part of the community, they’ve mastered the language and have jobs,” Saavedra said. “We obviously have to be realistic about Trump being our president, but we also have to motivate people with a message of hope, that we’ve invested in this community.”

Saavedra, for example, has lived in the U.S. for 23 years — the vast majority of his life.

By Octavio Blanco for CNNMoney
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