The Advocate


Rebecca Vasquez

Senior Rebecca Vasquez leads the crowd during a rally for immigration reform.

Rebecca Vasquez, Staff Writer

   I joined the National TPS Alliance shortly after the Trump administration terminated temporary protected status (TPS). I was able to educate myself on TPS statistics and the root causes of migration. I learned how to arm myself with advocacy strategies to begin my activism in the halls of Congress and to advocate for my parents. They needed me. I was able to use my privilege as a U.S. citizen to speak with members of Congress and to challenge their positions of power because now their seats are in my hands. Knowing that I have the power to change people’s votes and change people’s minds with the power of advocacy gave me strength.

   Being so involved in activism at a young age took a great toll on my mental health. Other kids missed school because they were sick or they needed to get braces. I was missing school to march in the rain for human rights: I was skipping school to beg Congress to keep my parents in this country–with me.

   Lawsuits were filed in 2017 against the Trump administration for terminating TPS because it was a violation of the United States Constitution. We now have a game plan. Lawsuits move very slowly when filed against an administration, giving TPS families time, and as predicted these lawsuits lasted until today. Now with Biden in office Democrats are in favor of keeping our families together. We finally have our solution: Biden promised permanent residency for all TPS holders in his first 100 days of office. 

   Only, there’s a problem with that. It’s been 287 days and nothing has changed. I was ready to stop balancing high school and fighting for my human rights. I deserve to have relief. My parents deserve it. I am no longer scared and 12. I’m 17, stronger and smarter.

   It’s been 5 years since I began to advocate for permanent residency for my parents. I don’t know when this fight will end. The United States is my home, my family’s home. I plan on continuing to advocate for TPS holders, DACA recipients, undocumented migrants and the entire immigrant community.

   One day I will run for Congress with a dream to create legislation that will protect children with migrant parents from being separated from their families because of their status. Until then, the fight continues.