Local DACA recipient among six that met with President Biden

President Biden met with six DACA receipts, also known as "Dreamers," on Friday. One included a teacher from Austin

Karen Reyes teaches at Galindo Elementary, teaching those who are deaf and hard of hearing. Reyes was invited to the White House to meet with Biden to share her experiences and talk with the President. 

"I think it shows his commitment to immigration and his commitment and how important this issue is for him," she said. 

Reyes said the group spoke with him on how to move forward with a path towards citizenship. 

"Bringing the stories in and bringing the stories of our parents, of our students and their families into that space, I think was really powerful," Reyes said. "It showed how this issue doesn't just impact DACA recipients. It's something that affects everyone in our community." 

Reyes grew up in San Antonio. She said she didn’t know she was undocumented until high school. However, when was about to graduate from UTSA with her undergrad in education she was unable to go into that field. 

"After seeing the failure in the Senate of the Dream Act in 2010, I thought I'll give them a few more years by the time I graduate, maybe something will pass in Congress for me to have some form of way to work as a teacher," she said. "That didn't happen."



So, Reyes went on to get her master's degree in Deaf Education. In 2012, DACA was announced, and she has been a recipient since. Now, every two years she must renew her work permit.

"DACA has been under attack for many years and now we need to push for a pathway towards citizenship," Reyes said. 

Reyes said under the last administration, she felt as if the immigrant community had been under attack. 

"It is very different to go into this place, you know, to walk into the Oval Office and see that President Biden is taking the time to listen to folks that are directly impacted by this," she said. 

Adding the meeting on Friday can be a step forward. 

"He really made it a space where we could share our stories with him and share why this issue is so important and why it's urgent that we pass the Dream and Promise Act.

The American Dream and Promise Act would provide DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and individuals with Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) with protection from deportation and an opportunity to obtain permanent legal status in the U.S. if they meet certain requirements.

"We just need the Senate to take all their words of, "we support Dreamers, we like DACA recipients," and put an action to that, into a vote, to pass the Dream and Promise Act," Reyes said. 

Something she said shouldn’t have to be up for debate. 

"We shouldn't allow people to live in constant fear for their lives of being separated from their families," Reyes said. "If we can do something to alleviate that fear and that stress and just treat people as human beings, and help them, I think that that is the fundamental rule - help others when you can."