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A DREAMer in City Hall

Hello, Seattle

My name is Paúl Quiñonez Figueroa, and I’m the External Affairs Liaison covering immigration here in Mayor Durkan’s office.

I’m so proud to have the chance to serve all of you – the people of Seattle – as a City of Seattle employee. I’m also proud to be an immigrant – and a DREAMer.

Last September, when the Trump administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, approximately 8,000 DACA recipients living in King County – people like me – had their futures thrown into question. For yet one more time since I migrated from Mexico at the age of seven, my place in this country was questioned.

Then, this Tuesday, a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction ordering the Trump administration to halt DACA’s termination.

While this is an important and symbolic victory, we must remember that this is just one tool in this administration’s unjust war on our country’s immigrant and refugee communities. Earlier this week, President Trump’s decision to let the Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador expire and his divisive rhetoric reported on today reinforce his disregard for people who have come to America for safety, stability, and the promise of a better life.

Fortunately, we live in a welcoming City that has acted to protect immigrants and refugees who call Seattle home. As Mayor Durkan has said, “Seattle will not be bullied – we will protect our residents. We have both the law and justice on our side.”

That makes our entire community stronger, more vibrant, and ready to build a better future for all Seattleites. That’s why Congress must act to end the uncertainty DACA recipients face by immediately passing the DREAM Act.

What’s next? While we expect President Trump to immediately appeal this decision, as it stands this decision allows anyone who already was enrolled in DACA before Sept. 5th, 2017 to apply for renewal. To assist immigrants and refugees in our City, the Seattle Office of Immigrant & Refugee affairs will host a free citizenship assistance program on February 3rd at Seattle Center. We will continue to look for opportunities to bring events like these to neighborhoods across Seattle.

Paúl Quiñonez Figueroa