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Juan Carlos Cerda, a Dreamer who hopes to one day have an American green card. Photo provided by Cerda.

Two-Minute Take: DACA Solution from a Dreamer

March 14, 2019 by Ioanna Papas
Juan Carlos Cerda is a Dreamer who will participate in a policy discussion with President and Mrs. Bush on March 18.

Juan Carlos Cerda is one of the 3.6 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients living in the United States. He is a graduate of Yale University and a Teach for America alumnus. He currently works for the American Business Immigration Coalition in Dallas. Read Juan Carlos' article in The Catalyst. 

If you were a green card holder or had your citizenship, what would you have done out of school? Did you feel your choices limited because of your status?

If I had been a permanent resident or citizen at the time of my graduation from Yale, I still would have done Teach for America. My status did limit and discourage me from pursuing some opportunities, such as a career in law, but I think I was meant to teach. It is a way to give back and to understand my community members and our youth. After all, they are our country’s future.  

What are you willing to compromise on with a DACA solution and what things are a stand firm with you from a national security perspective?

A compromise exists by legalizing Dreamers and creating smart border policy. A pathway for legalization for Dreamers and our parents, coupled with smart border policy, would strengthen America's economy. I think it is possible to have a legalization pathway, with strong verification protocols, so that myself and fellow Dreamers can continue working, paying taxes, and meeting our obligations.

The way we address security is by ensuring “smart” border policy exists. This includes monitoring ports of entry and remote areas of the border with technology, as well as providing aid to countries that account for most of the migration we are currently seeing.


Author

Ioanna Papas
Ioanna Papas

Ioanna Papas is a Senior Manager, Editorial for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Before joining the Bush Institute Ioanna worked at Golin and strategically supported her client, Texas Instruments, in making a move from traditional public relations to content marketing with a focus on social media influencers. Prior to joining Golin, she provided support and expertise for a number of clients including Dish Network, UT Southwestern, Sabre Technologies, HOLT CAT, Hillwood and Benefitfocus. In these roles, she assisted in media relations, external campaign development and execution, and provided writing, editing and strategic implementation support.

Ioanna graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in online journalism. After completing multiple internships, one resulting in an article published in the New York Times and winning the Investigative Reporters and Editors student award for investigative reporting, she pursued a journalism career in Beaumont, Texas.

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