Build the wall and allow DACA recipients like me to stay in America, the only country I know and love

Like millions of Americans, I will be watching President Trump address the nation Tuesday night on his demand for $5.7 billion from Congress to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in return for ending the partial government shutdown. But I’m not an American, even though I feel like one. I’m an immigrant brought to the U.S. illegally when I was just a year old.

I am one of the approximately 700,000 so-called Dreamers now living in the U.S. For now, I’m here legally because I am protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But that protection may end soon, because DACA is being challenged in the courts.

And it might surprise you to know that I’m also a supporter of President Trump. I believe it is vital that we focus on America's safety first and find the necessary resources for the Border Patrol to do its job effectively, while still giving people like me a chance to stay in the only country we’ve ever called home and loved.

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I understand that America can’t let everyone who wants to come into this country enter, nor can the U.S. allow illegal drugs to flow freely across the border.

As a result, I support the president’s call for a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. And I understand that he has promised to build a border wall or fence and feels duty-bound to fulfill his promise.

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So I hope the president will propose – and Democrats and Republicans in Congress will support – a deal to fund the border wall in return for giving me and my fellow Dreamers the right to stay in the U.S. permanently. This is a reasonable and obvious compromise – give the president something he wants, and give immigrant advocates something we want.

The DACA community is not asking to skip to the head of the line or to be granted citizenship immediately. All we want is a chance to earn citizenship while still being able to stay in this country by paying our taxes, serving our country, supporting our communities, and continuing to pledge allegiance to the only flag we have ever known and loved.

I didn’t ask to come to the U.S. when I was a baby – I was too young to talk. But I thank God I was brought here and grew up in the greatest country on Earth. I pray to God that I can stay.

I have no memory of Tampico, Mexico, where I was born and spent the first year of my life. After my mother brought me to the U.S. as a baby we spent time living in a homeless shelter in Houston. I grew up without a father.

With assistance from Houston, friends and nonprofit groups, members of my family got back on our feet. My mother was able to earn money cleaning houses and support me and my two younger siblings.

I graduated from the University of Houston in 2017 with two degrees in business and now work at a Fortune 500 company as a technology consultant.

I am the first in my family to get a college degree. I hope to get an MBA in a few years, become an executive at a Fortune 500 company, and eventually become an American citizen who can contribute to the greatness of this country.

I didn’t ask to come to the U.S. when I was a baby – I was too young to talk. But I thank God I was brought here and grew up in the greatest country on Earth. I pray to God that I can stay.

It’s time to end the partial government shutdown, give the 800,000 federal workers going without pay their jobs and paychecks back, restore government services to the American people, and make the dreams of Dreamers like me come true by letting us stay here and giving us a pathway to eventual citizenship in the United States.