Pastors, priests and a politician all taking a stand to continue to protect "Dreamers," undocumented young immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. "My support for the dreamers of DACA is driven not by politics but by faith," said Pastor Gerald Sharon of Hope Lutheran in Palm Desert. "Even though we have been preparing, even though we have been preaching, even though we have been holding workshops, the pain is powerful," said Father Guy Wilson of our Lady of Soledad in Coachella.
"Fear into a population can really harm as person’s mental health," said Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD. The congressman hosted the press conference Saturday at Sacred Heart Church. Oscar Perez grew up in Indio. Finding out he was a DACA student in the fifth grade changed his life. "The anxiety started coming in and I was living more in fear of being deported because I was realizing to my surroundings: that I wasn’t like the other students," said Perez.
Despite fear, Oscar has continued his education at College of the Desert. "My goal is to become a physician. I want to be a doctor. I want to help people," said Perez during the press conference.
But two Army veterans want to help Oscar. "These DACA kids belong in the country," said James Bowen. "When I start finding out that people of my culture, ethnic background are being attacked, the kids are being attacked. I still took an oath to protect this country and I haven’t finished it yet," Atenogenas Navarro said.
Recently, Democratic leaders claimed to have reached an agreement with President Trump but DACA legislation has become a game of deal or no deal. "There is no agreement," said Rep. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House earlier this month. "We had an agreement to move forward," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader also earlier this month.
While the future is uncertain, the Calimesa locals are calling on the Coachella Valley to take action. "What an opportunity," started Atenogenas Navarro. "You’re missing an opportunity to be here," finished Bowen.