Think about this scenario. A father is rushing his child to the hospital when a police officer pulls him over for speeding. Is this man’s failure to comply with the law justified in this case? Should the officer let him go, or cite him anyway?

Most importantly, should he cite the man’s daughter, unconscious in the backseat, simply for being in custody of a driver who violated the speed limit? While this story may seem completely unrelated to immigration, it’s far more symbolic than you realize.

When my parents chose to immigrate to the United States, they were desperate, too.

Our homeland’s economy was going from bad to worse, and the violence on the streets had become unbearable. Unlike other children, I didn’t care about the bogeyman. My biggest fear when the lights went out was that a stray bullet would kill me in my sleep.


New Americans in Hawaii.

When I was six years old, I watched from my window as a man put a gun to my father’s head and drove away in our family car.

Just two years before immigrating to the U.S., my mom was the victim of an attempted robbery and shot at 3 times, miraculously escaping unharmed.

Unlike other children, I didn’t care about the bogeyman. My biggest fear when the lights went out was that a stray bullet would kill me in my sleep.

While some people insist on calling my parents’ decision to move here criminal, I think of it as a selfless display of love and a burning desire to save their children.

Most importantly, I call it what it is: a civil offense, much like the man’s decision to speed in order to save his daughter.

Last Tuesday, Rep. Darrel Issa, a California Republican, began circulating a letter around congress that calls for the end of DACA, a program created by the Obama administration that grants temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to some young undocumented immigrants raised in the United States.

Issa claims the program has attracted an influx of unaccompanied child refugees to cross the border and demands the president halt the program immediately, conveniently ignoring the fact that in order to qualify, applicants must show extensive proof of being physically present in the country for the past seven years.

Rep. Issa’s letter is not just misleading. It is an over-simplified and narrow-minded look into a much broader issue.

We are witnessing a humanitarian crisis at the border, and the House Republicans’ proposed solution is to deport college kids raised here — and who are finally getting the opportunity to contribute to their communities — in order to make an example out of us.

Where is the logic in that? What good can come from a policy that prohibits a sector of the population from pursuing an education? It’s not just bad policy, it’s inhumane.

Two years ago, DACA pulled me out of limbo and gave me a life again. It allowed me to go back to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science, to volunteer with several local organizations and become an intern for Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE).

Now, Rep. Issa and his colleagues are threatening to strip me of those rights in a shameful attempt to distance themselves from Eric Cantor and the claims they made just a few months ago, when they expressed support for immigration reform.

How long will House Republicans continue to hold my future hostage and use it for their own political gain?

How long will I have the threat of deportation looming over me before they acknowledge that I am the girl in the backseat, serving a 13-year sentence for something I never did?

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Column lengths should be no more than 800 words and we need a current photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to The opinions and information expressed in Community Voices are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.

About the Author