Neither from here, nor from there: The struggle continues

“During the week that marked eight years since President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),” writes Claudia Marchan, executive director for Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors, and herself a DACA recipient, “the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration to end DACA and allows DACA to stay!

“This is a huge win for the immigrant community, but it is not the end of the struggle,” she continues. reminding us that DACA is a temporary status. “As we reflect on this gratifying and surprising victory from the Supreme Court, I share with you the story of one DACA recipient; I share with you my story.”

They are ni de aquí ni de alláneither from here, nor from there.

During the week that marked eight years since President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – a program that allows undocumented immigrant youth to apply for deferred action from deportation and obtain a work permit in the U.S – the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration to end DACA and allowed DACA to stay!

This is a huge win for the immigrant community, but it is not the end of the struggle.  As we reflect on this gratifying and surprising victory from the Supreme Court, I share with you the story of one DACA recipient; I share with you my story . . . 

Growing up, I rarely felt different. I was reunited with my mom at the age of four and met my family, which included a new baby sister and a dad. The promise of family was what my mom reminded me of as I struggled to leave my grandmother’s side that day in August. Although my mom called me frequently to remind me that she would return, it was hard to leave Mama Socorro. 

I didn’t feel different because my mom reminded me every single day why she had to make the decision to leave. She was in search of a better life for the two of us. You see, she had struggled her whole life to get her education, shelter, and food.  Her dad, my grandfather, who passed away at the age of 35 when my mom was 14, sent her off to go to school in another town at the age of 12. When my mom tells us this story, she says “he didn’t have a formal education, he rode a horse, and ‘stole’ your grandmother at the age of 16, but somehow he knew that my future was not there in the rancho.”

I tell you this because this is where I come from, this is part of my story. The story of the struggle, pain, anger, and resilience of my mother is also my story. My mother immigrated to the United States at a time where she found immigration relief for herself. Not knowing the language and being afraid of what may happen to me as we were miles apart and separated by a border, she, unfortunately, couldn’t find immigration relief for me.

Today, I am “DACAmented,” and leading an immigration legal services nonprofit. I spend each day thinking not only of my struggles and pain but also of how these struggles and pain are present in close to 700,000 other “DACAmented” peers across the country. I know the opportunities we have had and of the opportunities that have been denied for those who were left out of DACA. I worry about the mixed status families and undocumented families that are denied safety and have been left out of all emergency funding during a world crisis.  I think about all the immigrants in detention centers that have been separated from their families, denied asylum, and exposed to a deadly pandemic. 

And now, I get to celebrate the close to 700,000  students, mothers, fathers, teachers, nurses, engineers, attorneys, accountants, scientists, community leaders, and especially those risking their lives every single day in front line jobs who can sleep better knowing that DACA is safe. Many of these DACAmented immigrants have risked their lives in front line jobs every single day throughout this pandemic while worrying about losing DACA protections every single night.

Throughout this pandemic, close to 700,000 of us have had to continue facing a world crisis with the threat of losing our status in this country. This reality left has left us short of living the American Dream and, instead, stuck in a nightmare. Today, we can celebrate waking up from this nightmare and, again, can have the opportunity to share in the American Dream. 

Growing up, I rarely felt different. But I really am different. I have grown up in a country that continues to push me to the side, deny me of my rights, and seeks to send me back to my country of birth. The truth is that yes, I am different, and, frankly, I am “ni de aqui, ni de alla” – neither from here nor from there. I have lived in the United States for 33 of my 37 years of life. I went to kindergarten here, got my bachelor’s degree here, got my master’s degree here, got married here, had my children here, celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday here. This is where I fought the government for unjustly putting my dad in a detention center. I was born in Mexico and, since Mama Socorro passed away, the Mexico that I vaguely remember is not the same without her. 

 The Supreme Court decision today that blocks the Trump Administration from ending DACA is a huge win, but it is not the end of our struggle. DACA recipients and all undocumented immigrants need and deserve a pathway to citizenship. We need to embrace, welcome, and help immigrants live safely in the United States. As I saw the decision come in, my heart was beating fast, and tears of joy streamed down my face. For today we have won, but I invite you to demand and continue to work on comprehensive immigration reform for our immigrant communities and for a fair and just immigration system.

I invite you to join me in this fight.

Our Immigration Work Continues during COVID-19

Our immigration work is forever challenging: there is a humanitarian crisis at the border with MPP, asylum bans, families in detention centers, separation of families, delays with immigration, increased request for evidence, public charge rule, elimination of fee waivers and increases in USCIS applications to name a few. Just when we thought it could not get much worse, we are hit with COVID-19 and everything that we just mentioned now has a new and more urgent meaning. The humanitarian crisis at the border is now heightened with migrants not only having to worry about what to eat and where to sleep but also about remaining healthy and free of the virus. By being denied entry into the country they are faced with inhumane situations in which they do not have access to resources that they need to remain safe and healthy. Families continue to be separated and cannot quarantine with their loved ones, uncertain of their family members health and fate. 

As a local organization working on immigration legal services, we continue to serve our clients everyday-just a little differently now. As I write you this newsletter I am sitting in my daughter’s room while my husband keeps our two kids busy in another room. Our attorneys are working remotely and taking turns with legal staff to check into the office to pick up mail and send out important client documents.  We have been on the phone with clients and with immigrants looking for services. We notice that many of them are asking for other services-like where to get help with utilities and questions related to COVID-19. Their immediate needs have shifted slightly as they struggle to keep their families safe and worry about being laid off work.

Through our rich network and dear partners, we are able to provide resources that may be available to them and we try to help in any way that we can. Our focus is on keeping connected with our clients and continuing to work on their cases as much as we can.  Please read below for more information on the immigration courts and our legal work, resources available due to the virus and how you can help protect immigrants during this time of need and uncertainty.

Stay healthy and check in on your loved ones as much as you can.

In solidarity,

Claudia Marchan,

Executive Director NIJFON

Protecting Ourselves and Our Community Against COVID-19

As our country now faces a national emergency, it’s important to stay calm and take serious precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

At NIJFON, we are closely monitoring the situation and our staff is actively implementing steps to protect our clients, our community, and ourselves against COVID-19. While we are not public health experts, NIJFON wants to be a source of information for our community. 

Below please find a list of credible online sources like the CDC and other public health experts.

The CDC’s COVID-19 Website:…

The World Health Organization:…/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Protegiéndonos a nosotros mismos y a nuestra comunidad contra COVID-19
Como nuestro país ahora enfrenta una emergencia nacional, es importante mantener la calma y tomar medidas de precaución serias para prevenir la propagación del coronavirus. En NIJFON estamos monitoreando de cerca la situación y nuestro personal está implementando activamente pasos para proteger a nuestros clientes, nuestra comunidad a nosotros mismos contra COVID-19.
Si bien no somos expertos en salud pública, NIJFON quiere ser una fuente de información para nuestra comunidad. A continuación encontrará una lista de fuentes creíbles en línea como los CDC y otros expertos en salud pública.


The World Health Organization: