Marco, Oscar & Jairo's Story

Marco Oscar and Jairo's Story Graphic

"Catholic Charities helped us in ways that most people would never understand. We went from feeling like we lived under a rock our entire lives, to finally being able to do things that other people took for granted. The fear of not being able to live a normal life everyday was exhausting. The fear of being pulled over, questioned, or even getting into any type of trouble was always in the back of our minds, because we knew that we weren't protected from deportation. 

Catholic Charities did all the behind-the-scenes work. They introduced us to immigration lawyers, taught us our rights, and explained to us the process, which was Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). All we personally had to do was gather documents and other forms of proof that they asked of us.

After we signed on to DACA for the first time and got approved, we all felt like a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. Just knowing that we were going to be able to do simple things such as drive safely, get a job, and, most importantly, it opened up new doors for our futures and allowed us to attend college. Nobody in our family had ever had the opportunity to do that, and we didn't want to take it for granted. 

Our parents made the decision to come to America because it is the land of opportunity and they wanted a better life for us. They invested their whole lives on us and worked day in and day out. They weren't thinking about a retirement plan, they weren't thinking about buying a home, they were just trying to give us a better life than they had. 

Once we were approved for DACA, we all knew that we were THEIR retirement, we three are their future. They never once told us this, but as we got older we realized that we were their investment, because all they cared about was that we had a better chance at a successful life."

Cedar Valley United Way is proud to support programs like Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque's Immigration Legal Services program that helps people like Marco, Oscar and Jairo.

Together, we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. To live better, we must Live United. Because, United We Can!