This article was first published in The Hill on September 12, 2017.
This Hispanic Heritage Month, let us not lose heart or surrender our dreams
by Sandra Pedroarias
This year, the U.S. will usher in Hispanic Heritage Month with renewed assurances that a wall costing a mind-boggling $10 billion to $21.6 billion will be erected along our southern border — a physical structure further dividing two neighbors and vital trade partners.
This year, many Latinos will take part in the Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 celebrations with painful awareness that promises made to a generation of Dreamers have once again been broken. These young students, blue- and white-collar professionals, arrived as minors — and not of their own volition. Yet today, the estimated 800,000 covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program know no country other than the U.S. as their home.
They are not criminals, and the majority do not see themselves as perpetual victims doomed to a life of government dependency. To the contrary, most seek empowerment and opportunity. Most share a vision and purpose of making their families, their communities and, yes, their country, greater.Some may already have experienced the trauma of family separation during a period of mass deportation under the previous administration. Others live with a growing uncertainty about their futures under the current one. It is now difficult for them to trust that congressional leaders maintain the resolve, political will or ability to bring closure to this issue within a few months’ time.