The “Almost DREAMer”:How DACA leaves out many people that were some of the pioneers of the DREAMer movement.

While many young people enjoy all the benefits that DACA gives them, there are those that still remain the shadows and many of them are in the state of “almost made it.” Marco Malagon of Dallas, TX is one of those immigrants.


Marco Malagon came to United States from Guanajuato, Mexico when he was 17 years old. The guidelines for DACA require that an applicant arrived to the United States to live at the age of 16 years old. For some it is only a number, but for an immigrant, who has been living in the shadows, to have this opportunity flash before him and disappear in an instant is not just frustrating, it is a matter of being deeply upset, having to put the dreams on indefinite hold, waiting for something, for anything. 

“It broke my heart,” Marco Malagon remembered the moment he found out that he was not eligible for DACA. Malagon explained that he hoped that DACA guidelines would allow young people who came to United States before turning 18 to apply. Unfortunately, the rules were not what one might have expected. But still Marco Malagon did not give up hope.  Even without proper documentation he kept on advocating for immigration reform. When President Obama announced expansion of DACA, Malagon felt like he finally might get his chance, but with the executive order on hold his dreams and his whole life is also on hold.

“The second time hurt more than the first time. It devastated my spirit a little bit,” Marco Malagon said about his experience. 

Like Malagon many immigrants are dealing with this kind of deep frustration. It is not easy to overcome that feeling of having something so close and not being able to actually have it. But instead of living with the frustration, Marco Malagon speaks out from the shadows. In spite of the possibility of being deported he pushes on. He participates in hunger strikes, marches and he simply stays vocal. Speaking out was the reason why he, along with Cesar Vargas, was convicted of trespassing for disrupting speeches of potential republican presidential candidates during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines and he also was sentenced to one year probation. 

“In the eyes of the law I broke the law, but where is morality of law?” Malagon asks. “I am convicted and could be deported. Now I am seen as a criminal.” 

But not even the threat of being separated from his wife, who is expecting his child, will keep him away from fighting for opportunity. 

“I believe every individual should rise up and show. I don’t want pity. I want an opportunity,” Malagon said. 

Opportunity is what most of the undocumented immigrants want. Families do not want to be separated, people do not want to live in fear anymore and many simply want to give back to a country that they see as their own. 

Marco Malagon is only one young man who “almost made it,” but in the shadows there are thousands of them. They might be scared to speak, but they do feel and understand his fight. The frustrations are growing and there is no solution in sight. For those in power immigration issue is a matter of political gain or loss, for those in the shadows immigrations issue is the matter of finally being able to take a big breath of freedom. 


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