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By Jack Orloff

Joyful tears ran under Karen Reyes"s confront as she called her mother on may 14. She had actually just talked through President Joe Biden alongside 5 other people like herself — recipients of the Deferred activity for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. 

"Walking out of that space, I automatically called my mom and also burst into tears due to the fact that this is a room that is not designed because that undocumented immigrants choose me," Reyes said. "But we were there and also shared our stories. To have actually a sit President hear us and likewise feel our story was just so powerful."

Reyes and also five various other DACA recipients were invite by chairman Joe Biden come the Oval Office to discuss the program and immigration reform and share personal stories.

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Reyes is a DACA recipient that has functioned for the ar for seven years. She teaches deaf and hard of hear students in Kindergarten and 1st grade at Galindo Elementary college in Austin.

Reyes immigrated through her mom from Mexico 30 years ago to mountain Antonio. She live a fairly normal childhood, not knowing about her family’s condition until high school.

"I want to walk on a spring break expedition with my friends, and my mother told me ns couldn"t go since I didn"t have any type of papers," she said.

She quickly realized the her life would have actually obstacles that others might not face. 

"Starting from no being maybe to gain a learner’s permit to have the ability to drive, to no being may be to use to colleges since I didn"t have a social defense number, over there were all these fears and also obstacles," she said.

However, Reyes did not let she fears protect against her. She ended up being a teacher and also began to advocate for immigrant reform in her community. 

"There came a suggest where I believed to myself, ‘If I"m scared, what are my students and also my families feeling? If I can do something to fight for human rights because that immigrants, and to help folks, ns should,’" she said

Reyes joined organizations that fought for immigrant reform.

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"I started to get associated with joined We Dream and my teacher"s union education Austin. Ns would assist organize and also conduct recognize Your civil liberties training, citizenship drives and just trying to do all this crucial work,” Reyes said. “But I never ever imagined it would end up with me going to the Oval Office and speaking with the president because, in mine mind, this is around people, my community and also helping mine community." 

Reyes really hopes that she visit and her ongoing passion for immigration reform will help get conference to happen the Dream and Promise Act.

"As a teacher, ns feel like I have a ethical obligation to assist others, to fight for justice, to fight for the legal rights of mine students and also our community," Reyes said. "I think there yes, really is a shift in rhetoric, and I am positive that we will acquire this done. We require Congress come act and also pass the Dream and Promise Act. In ~ the finish of the day, we space all humans, and we deserve to it is in treated v dignity and also respect."