DACA Isn't Enough: A Letter from Silvia Aguilar, Cal Poly Alum
September 29, 2016
Dear E4FC Family,
Since Monday, I've been on leave from my job as a Mechanical Engineer at Lam Research. Not because there was something wrong with my job performance, but because my work authorization expired on Sunday. For over three years, I've been able to work in the engineering field due to DACA, but because of an administrative delay at USCIS my renewal wasn't processed on time and my employer has had no choice but to put me on unpaid personal leave.
For over two weeks my HR department has been scrambling to get ahold of USCIS to prevent a lapse in employment. In researching, emailing, and calling USCIS, they've had a front row seat for the inefficient process that DACA recipients are up against.
"A consistent theme of inaccessibility and bureaucracy has left us repeatedly frustrated in our determined effort to avoid the expiration of Silvia’s work authorization," says David Urquhart, the Human Resource Manager at Lam Research. "We have experienced an absence of accountability to results against USCIS SLAs and, further, a lack of any meaningful escalation process. As a result, today, we have one fewer highly capable engineer solving our customers’ most technically difficult challenges."
If my work authorization isn’t renewed soon, I’m at risk of not being able to pay my rent, losing my health insurance, and not being able to complete my Master’s of Science in Engineering Management at Santa Clara University. Since my DACA renewal was a prerequisite for my California driver’s license and that also expired on Monday, I’ve lost my driving privilege as well. Everything my family and I have worked so hard to achieve over the past 20 years is at stake.
While I’m grateful for the opportunities DACA has afforded me, it isn’t enough. I want my ability to work to be based on how qualified I am at engineering design and how well I perform at the tasks my employer gives me -- not bureaucratic processes beyond my control. I don’t want to have to worry that my right to live and work in this country might disappear at a moment’s notice if a new president decides to end DACA.
In November, will you stand up for immigrants like myself? Will you vote for elected officials who believe that I – and so many other undocumented immigrants – deserve a path towards permanent residency?
Will you vote for someone who wants me to go to back to work?
E4FC 2011 & 2012 New American Scholar
Founded in 2006, Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation. We are a fiscally-sponsored project of Community Initiatives. For more information, please visit us online.
Article from http://e4fc.bmeurl.co/67CFE83.
Cal Poly's UndocuWeek is Monday September 18 to Friday September 22. Designed for undocumented students and students in mixed status families.