Immigrants across the country, both documented and undocumented, are raising their voices in support of immigration reform that makes earning a path to citizenship easier for those born abroad. Some individuals are even taking drastic action to make their message of equality heard. In 2010, four individuals – Gaby Pacheco, Felipe Matos, Juan Rodríguez and Carlos Roa – walked from Miami to Washington, D.C., to push for immigration reform. Those four qualified for the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Initiative and are known as DREAMers because they meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
The four DREAMers are now considered to be pioneers of the DREAMer movement. They helped persuade President Barack Obama in 2012 to protect young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents when they were children from deportation.
Another immigrant taking a dramatic route to support immigration reform is Mexican-born Francisco Diaz, who has been living without documentation in the United States near Brownsville, Texas, since 2000. Diaz, 41, entered the country 14 years ago without permission and has been living without immigration papers and in fear of deportation. Diaz plans to begin a two-month, 1,085-mile trip from Homestead, Texas, to Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2014, on his bicycle. He said he will carry a pen in his bag that he plans to give the president so he can sign an executive order stopping immigrant deportations.
Millions of undocumented immigrants have been deported under the Obama administration. Many have established businesses and created families in the United States, and immigration advocates see deportations as destructive to family life.