I am DACA, a teacher, a father + so much more
By David Blancas
September 6, 2017
David Blancas was a teacher in Chicago Public Schools before becoming a Director of Teacher Support at OneGoal. Given the current administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections, he and his family’s future rests on Congress’s ability to quickly pass immigration legislation that will enable him and 800,000 other DREAMers to stay in the country they call home.
I spent countless hours trying to articulate my experience in order to humanize the DACA narrative. I wanted to make sure I sounded as intelligent as possible, while tugging on your heart strings, so you can sympathize and support those with DACA. I quickly realized my story would become insincere and manipulative. Instead, my focus is not to win you over. I am just going to pour my heart out and be my authentic self so you can see what I’m actually experiencing.
I have a loving wife and two beautiful children. I want to provide my wife with the life that she deserves. I want my kids to have opportunities I never had. They are what drive me. They are the reason why I wake up every morning ready to face the world head on. My current immigration status makes it damn near impossible to do that. Before the removal of the DACA protections, I had to renew my DACA every two years. Even then, I was not guaranteed a renewal. That is what frightened me. If my DACA was not renewed, I would have to leave this country. I have worked too hard; I have overcome too many obstacles for that to happen and now that’s what I’m facing.
I graduated in the top 10 percent of my high school with a 3.7 GPA and a 26 ACT score. I graduated from Aurora University with Honors. In 2009, I received my bachelor’s degree in Mathematics & Secondary Education. I accomplished all of this while being undocumented. I followed the law the best I could. I respected my elders, gave my all to everything I did, and was a kind person. Yet, I would turn on the news and see people like me portrayed as criminals.
I did not understand; how can the country I love have so much hate for me? I was deeply hurt.
My dream was to become a math teacher and inspire future generations. I was a certified male math teacher who spoke Spanish, putting me in high demand, yet the quality of my resume did not matter. That’s what ate me up inside. Less qualified individuals were getting the opportunities I too had earned. Then DACA was introduced and my life changed.
As soon as my DACA was approved, I promised myself that nothing would hold me back. I was determined to realize my dream of being in the classroom. That’s exactly what happened. In 2013, I was finally allowed to teach at a Chicago Public School high school. I remained in the classroom for four years. During that time I taught Personal Finance, College Algebra, Geometry, Computer Science, Web Design and an AP Computer Science class. I was on top of the world! I made every day count. Because of DACA, I was able to get my Master’s Degree, buy my first car, and begin the process of being a homeowner. My dreams were coming true. However, every two years I got that reminder in the mail that this was not permanent.
I am an ambitious individual. I don’t settle for less. DACA helped me start my career and was essential in starting to build the life I want.
Now, I am starting to feel limited again. DACA is not enough anymore. Especially since I have a family. Now that DACA is being removed and I feel like everything I’ve earned and built will be destroyed. I just don’t understand. All of the experts say that DACA has greatly benefited the economy of this country. What will happen to the 800,000 DACA recipients like me? Will they take their knowledge, expertise and money to a different country? I worry that’s what I may have to do.
Hope has driven my family. My parents came to this country in hopes of having better life. I did well in school in hopes of validating my parents’ sacrifices. I continue my pursuit of happiness in hopes providing my family the life they deserve.
In short, I am angry. I am frustrated. I am tired. I upset. I am disappointed. I am scared. But I above all else, I continue to be hopeful.
WHAT TO READ NEXT: A OneGoal alumna SHARES HER STORY on the difficulties of pursuing higher education while on DACA and what extra obstacles now stand in her way without its protections.