There’s a Dreamer in All of Us

There's A Dreamer In All Of Us

By Catherine Miele

It seems that every time I turn on the news or listen to public radio, I hurt.

I hurt for the marginalized of our society, for family members of Middle Eastern immigrants who can’t enter the United States, for transgender military members whose service clearly isn’t valued, for victims of Hurricane Harvey, and, now, for the hundreds of thousands of young “Dreamers” who face deportation to countries they’ve never known as home.

It’s an ache in my heart that, at times, makes me question the deeply held collective values of my country and wonder if the people in my life are truly who I’ve known them to be.

I grew up in a traditional, conservative, and sheltered household in the Deep South. While much of my upbringing is dear to me and undoubtedly shaped me into the compassionate and curious person I am, some of the ideas and judgments of my peers and family are painful.

I believe that my liberal arts education at a Jesuit institution helped lead me to where I am today. Those 4 years instilled in me a reverence for education, a commitment to social justice, a yearning to travel and absorb the offerings of the world, and an introduction to many people (of different ethnicities, gender-identities, religions, social classes, and nationalities) whom I’d never have known inside of my old “vanilla” bubble.

One memory I hold especially dear was from my junior year Hispanic American Literature class.

As a class project, we paired off with a classmate and spent time getting to know the story of an English as a Second Language (ESL) student on our campus and writing a report on the experience.

I still remember Moisés, the man whom we interviewed, and his story.

He was undocumented and had left Mexico to find a better life. He had a young daughter that I believe was born in the United States if memory serves me correctly.

Moisés was kind. Articulate. Committed to his new life in his new country. He used to buy shoes from the department store where I worked part-time during college and always said “hello” to me, long after our project was completed.

That was over ten years ago so I often wonder what happened to him – if he still lives nearby or if he was deported.

I remember that, despite having a heavy accent and a lack of papers, he was just like you and me.

Yes, he was in the United States illegally and would not have been protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) because he entered as an adult, but his willingness to be vulnerable and share his story with me and my classmates helped me discover a wealth of compassion for the families of “Dreamers.”

The America that I know and love cares for these immigrant families and the children who’ve spent their entire childhoods living as Americans. I know that a road can be paved for citizenship for Dreamers.

I know this because I know my own heart. I know that there is a Dreamer in every single one of us – whether we immigrated as children, were the first in our family to be born on American soil, or descend from a line of Americans who’ve called this country home for decades.

We all have hope. We all crave safety and opportunity for our families. And we all dream of something better.

Catherine is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via unsplash}

One thought on “There’s a Dreamer in All of Us

  1. abbeycoseattle says:

    This is something I feel every day too. My husband comes from a family of Mexican immigrants, and though they are all here legally now, I am sure that at one point his very distant relatives were ‘dreamers’ too. There is so much turmoil in the world right now, I can hardly see how these Dreamers here peacefully contributing to our society need to be the focus of politicians.


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