Young people from New York ‘wake up’ and are encouraged to vote driven by the fate of the ‘dreamers’


barely the student Evelyn Bueno, 18 years oldfinished depositing the first ballot of his life in an early voting center in New York City, he embraced his older sister Paola Buenowho is one of the thousands of beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), one of the immigration relief programs that could go into countdown if the electoral balance tips in favor of President Trump.

“It is my contribution and it will be that of thousands of young people who grew up in mixed families. When my sister came from Ecuador she was a girl. Today she studies Psychology and lives the tension of what will happen to his future. I was born in this country where the only thing my parents have done is work honestly,” he said. Evelyn who studies to be a teacher.

DACA offers temporary protection against deportation, as well as work permits to those called “Dreamers”, after they pass background checks and prove they have lived in the United States since 2007.

“There’s time”

Somehow, on the ballot in these 2020 Elections is “stamped” what will happen to the lives of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as childrenas is the case of Paola.

“I want to insist to the young people who can vote and who come from immigrant families like mine that they still have time to join this process, that will define how thousands of people will be treatedthat all they want is to keep making this country great,” Evelyn said outside her polling place on Staten Island.

The Trump administration has attempted to end DACA which began under the government of Barack Obama. For the last four years it has been argued that the program is illegal and should be stopped.

Until now, the benefit for the ‘dreamers’ has survived thanks to the intervention of judicial courts. Even after the Supreme Court issued a decision in June that ordered it had to “to be fully restored” restrictions have been applied to this program.

youth avalanche

According to electoral trends less than half of young New Yorkers between 18 and 29 years old participated in the presidential elections in 2016, a gap of more than 15 points compared to overall participation.

In the opinion of Yesenia Mata, leader of the organization Beehive of Staten Island who devised the campaign “Your vote, our vote”to boost the participation of young people in these elections in the Big Apple, the initiative through digital platforms has spontaneously expanded in the five counties.

Most of those who have joined to exchange messages on networks are new voters between the ages of 18 and 21 who have a brother, a cousin or simply a friend who they live in panic that the DACA program be removed, say activists.

“It is a movement of new voters that we have never seen in the city. There is a flood of young people who are excited to vote, because among other reasons, they belong to mixed families. They suffer from racism even though they were born here,” Mata reasoned.

“We have a lot to lose”

Physics student Jhonny Barbuto, 20 years old, also voted early. Although his younger siblings were born in this country, his parents came to New York 25 years ago from Mexico, specifically from Puebla.

Diversity is in danger. I voted convinced that perhaps with our strength we can give other families the opportunity to achieve their dreams based on work and effort. We are at a time when our people are at risk. We have a lot to lose!”said the new voter.

Jhonny, who together with his father and younger sister sent a message on social networks promoting the young vote, remembers that during the hardest moments of the pandemic in the Big Apple, the Hispanic communities “they showed their faces”. In his words, it was an opportunity to demonstrate everything that they are capable of achieving together.

“The great strength of this country where I was born is that with honesty you can progress. But with the current political climate, doors are closing. Our decision can make us rescue our true values ​​”, concluded the university student.

DACA and your voting family members

  • 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ the country has, most beneficiaries are from “mixed status” families.
  • 45,000 recipients of the DACA program in New York.
  • 72,7% of the ‘dacamentados’ in New York have a family member with US citizenship.
  • 49% was the voter turnout among 18 and 29 years old in New York in the last presidential election of 2016.