Azucena Javier reflects on recent Supreme Court decision, inaction in Congress

FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Azucena Javier hopes Congress soon will find a permanent solution to the DACA issue.For Azucena Javier, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday not to hear an appeal of a judge's ruling requiring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to continue, was bittersweet.

"Without a doubt today was huge victory but I'm very worried this will take pressure off Congress to find a permanent solution," the 19-year-old Tualatin resident said shortly after the announcement. "For me, I don't want to live as a DACA recipient the rest of my life."

While the ruling means DACA stays in effect past a March 5 deadline, the fact there is no deadline will leave those current DACA recipients living in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, she said.

"I still don't feel free," said Javier, whose DACA status is good until the fall of 2019. "I feel I'm still inside a cell, like I'm a prisoner."

For the third time since the fall, Javier returned to Washington, D.C., Feb. 5 through 16 in the nation's capital, part of the Arizona-based #Vote4Dream group that is directly lobbying members of Congress to figure out the DACA dilemma.

Javier stayed a week longer than originally planned because she heard there would be active debate in Congress about the issue.

"It was definitely a crucial week because they voted on four immigration proposals but pretty much they all failed," she noted.

The worst of the proposals, according to Javier, was one that would make some accommodations to those who currently have full-time jobs, saying it would hurt stay-at-home mothers.

An interesting observation she made during her most recent trip was there are divisions between the various so-called Dreamer groups she encountered.

"That was very frustrating because we couldn't get on the same page," she said. "We understand we have to compromise on something. For me, I'd be willing to compromise on a wall."

What she would and many others in her group don't planned to compromise on is anything that would put parents of DACA youth at risk of deportation. She's also against increasing the number of ICE agents.

It wasn't until Sept. 5 when it was announced that DACA would end that Javier said she started to fight for her life.

Now, on her third trip back to Washington, D.C., she thinks other issues are moving to the forefront for Congressional leaders.

"I'm still very fearful," she said.

Meanwhile, Javier celebrated her 19th birthday in Washington, D.C., noting that some senators wished her "Happy Birthday" during her lobbying efforts. However, finding a place to celebrate was a different matter.

"In D.C. there's no Mexican food … so on my birthday we drove 30 minutes for Mexican food, which was outside the D.C. area."

For the moment, Javier said she won't go back to Washington.

"I don't even know what my next step will be except to keep fighting," she said.

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