On the Importance of DACA: Isabela’s Story

Isabela and her family came to the United States from Bolivia in 2006. She filed for DACA to be able to work and apply for a higher education. She graduated from Northern Virginia Community College with an associate degree in liberal arts and went on to get her bachelor’s degree in art history at George Mason. When she first came to the country, Isabela said she struggled with the language barrier and the cultural differences. She went to school to follow her passions for painting and art and volunteered at several galleries and museums. In March 2020, she received the Visitor Service Associate position at a Smithsonian Museum. She worked remotely for a short period of time where she conducted research for upcoming exhibitions but had to stop working due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus lockdown. Isabela said getting the opportunity to go to school and work at a museum through DACA means a lot to her. She explained that she does not see a lot of Hispanic people at museums and hopes to change that through her work. Her goal is to open a museum or gallery in the United States and Bolivia so more people can understand the importance of culture and history. She said it is important that she is able to renew her DACA so she can continue to pursue her passions and support her parents. Isabela explained, “I’m feeling anxious but I am trying to think positive because so much is happening right now.” Isabela said she hopes the DACA program continues so she can work at the museum and support her loved ones.

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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, asylees, and refugees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia; and, to build community among clients, staff, volunteers and the larger society through education, advocacy, and volunteerism.

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