DACA recipients get out the vote: 'Everybody has the power to do something'
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient Julia Montejo says that the 2012 program changed her life by allowing her to pursue her higher educational goals. “I was so lucky that DACA came into place,” she explains in a video from The Love Vote campaign. “I got to apply for college knowing that I would have the safety of DACA. It really helped me be able to be the best I could be, education-wise.”
Her plans were veered off course last September by the Trump administration, when Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III announced the end of the program. By then, hundreds of thousands of young immigrants had already been enrolled in the program, allowing them to work legally and live free from the fear of deportation. Montejo said the administration’s decision left her “in a really dark place. I was really scared and I felt like I had no agency in my future.”
But Montejo and Ana Guevara, another DACA recipient, turned their fears into action. “By organizing and getting others to get their voices heard and to get out the vote, I feel like I have finally felt a sense of hope that I haven’t had since 2016,” Montejo said. In The Love Vote video, both young women are shown rallying supporters. “I am still working with my community and making sure that they are getting out to vote,” Guevara said. “Everybody has the power to do something.”
The two don’t have the ability to make their own voices heard at the ballot box, but they know that by sharing their stories, they can change the hearts and minds of others who can. And this is something they must do. “When you don’t have the right to vote,” Montejo added, “you’re often the people who are most marginalized, who bear the brunt of changing policies. You really feel it.”