November 12, 2019

Natalie Patrick-Knox

What DACA Means to People Like Jimmy

This is the story of Jimmy, a poultry plant worker and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. Jobs With Justice stands with Jimmy, and the hundreds of thousands of working families who depend on this program to give them access to better jobs.

On June 3, 2018, Jimmy Rodriguez graduated from high school and 2 days later he was arrested in a massive immigration raid in Lorain, Ohio. He was detained for 3 hours and released, thanks to his DACA status. His father and nearly 100 other members of the Lorain community were not so lucky.

Jimmy, 19, loves to play soccer and generally keep fit. He’s studying mechanical engineering.

Until the raid, Jimmy worked nearly 95 hours per week to help support his parents and two young siblings, but since the raid it’s been difficult.

Jimmy remembers first receiving the email that granted him his DACA. “I was so excited. It’s like I felt comfortable for the first time. That I could stay, that I could get a job. That I was—and would be seen—as a somewhat normal citizen.”

“When I heard that the president was trying to take away our work permission I was sad. I’m Christian, I know it’s all in God’s hands. But when the President of the United States is doing this to me, I felt helpless.”

Jimmy urges SCOTUS to listen to the 800,000 DACA recipients and not take away this fundamental right. “We’re just like everybody else.”

“If I lost my legal ability to work, it would ruin my dream of continuing my education. It would affect my family because I still support them. My mom can’t work because she doesn’t have papers and my brothers are in middle-school and elementary school.”

Jimmy’s desire for his families to prosper is something he shares with every other worker. Jobs With Justice is part of the fight for the rights of DACA recipients and all immigrants because we know that the attacks on immigrant communities are deeply aligned with the Trump Administration’s goal to undermine all working people’s rights. That is why we call on Congress pass legislation to provide a permanent solution for DACA and TPS holders and to demand cuts to ICE and CBP to #defundhate.

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