Two-Minute Take: DACA Solution from a Dreamer

Learn more about Ioanna Papas.
Ioanna Papas
Director, Communications
George W. Bush Institute

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.