Dulce Garcia, of Logan Heights, is a lawyer and activist who has grown up in the United States with undocumented status. She helped organize and lead the San Diego Border Dreamers — a grassroots advocacy group fighting for human and immigrant rights. Her interest in advocating for the undocumented community increased on Sept. 5, 2017, when the Trump administration rescinded DACA.
"When Trump took away DACA in 2017, I not only saw an attack on me personally but those people that I love around me. My siblings, my brother who was my primary concern, also a DACA recipient. It triggered something inside me that forced me to take action."
Dulce is one of the five activists who sued the Trump administration in 2018, arguing that federal officials did not follow proper procedures when rescinding DACA. Through the San Diego Border Dreamers, she has attended several hearings at the Capitol to advocate for DACA. She has continued to organize throughout the pandemic to ensure the voices of the undocumented people are heard.
Antonio Marquez is studying journalism and media at San Diego State University. He runs the “Dreamer Hour” on KCR radio at SDSU, where he and interviews community members who can provide resources to undocumented students. His work involving the immigrant rights movement is based on the university campus. Having been part of organizing and fighting for Latinx and Dreamer resource centers is an example of his passion for inclusivity. Antonio hopes undocumented college students in the future feel included and welcomed.
“It didn't start with me, it started with generations before me but to finally see it come to fruition and actually work there. To be able to speak to students and say you're welcomed here and you belong here is an amazing feeling.”
Francisco Peralta Vargas is a University of California San Diego graduate who has fought hard to obtain his international relations and international business degree. Through his intensive academic journey, Vargas made activism a vital part of his life. Francisco has traveled with the San Diego Border Dreamers to DACA court hearings at the Capitol. His activism work dates to 2013 during the National Day of Action for Dignity and Respect. He shares his frustrations on the recent decisions regarding DACA.
"It is already hard enough for people who are US citizens, it is several times much harder for people that don't have a license, don't have a social security number, don't have workers comp..."
Sandra Yuriko is a business owner and San Diego State graduate with a passion for advocating for immigrant rights. She is a fearless individual who believes any DACA decision will not stop her from achieving her goals. Yuriko helped organize a DACA rally on June 18, 2020, when the Supreme Court reinstated DACA. The rally took place in front of the San Diego County Administration Center, where allies and organizations gathered in support of Dreamers and the DACA Program.
"As time goes, the fight evolves and we evolve with it."
A mother of three, Dia Gonzalez is a dedicated immigrant rights activist living in Barrio Logan. Through her academic career at San Diego City College, Dia has used her undocumented story to inspire young students facing similar struggles. With the help of a scholarship from Price Charities, Dia pursued her academic goals and sought to shine a light on the intersection of mental health and undocumented status.
"So many of my neighbors have been undocumented for so many years and I didn't even know about it. Imagine how much I would have been able to help if there was some way of being safe to express their status. We were undocumented and afraid but now I am undocumented and unafraid. "
Beto Soto is a documentary and portrait photographer who has been working on documenting the ived experiences of undocumented and LGBTQ+ individuals. His work has given insight into the complexities of living with two marginalized identities. Soto was inspired to explore this topic from his own experience while accessing resources as a queer undocumented youth. Inspired by immigrant rights artivist Julio Salgado, Soto created the project "Undocuqueer Stories," which has created representation and awareness about the Undocuqueer movement. The online platform allows undocumented LGBTQ+ youth to express their opinions on decisions affecting immigrant communities.
"I often think about the youth that graduates from high school every year! They can't apply to the DACA program. How can we create hope for them using the skills we have gained throughout the years. I think for me, I create hope through image-making."
Artist and medical student Ali Torabi is an immigrant rights activist dedicated to bettering the lives of immigrant communities. In 2018, shortly after the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era DACA program, Torabi began to get involved with the immigrant rights group San Diego Border Dreamers.
Through the fundraising efforts of that organization, Ali and others attended DACA hearings at the Capitol in Washington to ensure the border reality of undocumented individuals was recognized.
"When you are in a border community, you are hit twofold. That being ICE and CBP."