This is one in a series of posts on individual Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as young children, many of whom are under threat of deportation following the Trump administration’s decision in September 2017 to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.
Arlin Karina Téllez Martínez has no apologies to offer. She is a Dreamer, in more ways than one, and proud of it.
Four years old when she came to the United States from Mexico, the now-20-year-old Martínez is a fierce self-advocate and activist.
“I would not be myself if I didn’t stand up for what I believe in,” she said in a recent Washington Post article. “Even if it meant my future, I prefer to have spoken out for my community than to not have.”
As the Supreme Court was hearing arguments on the Deferred Action and Childhood Arrivals policy Nov. 12, Martínez was outside on the steps, surrounded by fellow immigrants and activists. She is steeped in activism, having interned with DC-based Faith in Public Life, a national network of around 50,000 faith leaders. Though Martínez is no longer an intern, she still volunteers for them, managing their social media handles—as she was doing on the 12th.
Martínez attends Trinity Washington University thanks in part to a scholarship from TheDream.US. The scholarship is funded through Amazon. But that didn’t stop Martínez from challenging Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, about the company’s ties to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at an event at her school.
In a recent op-ed in the online publication the Latino Rebels, Martínez wrote, “Our fight is beyond DACA. The movement continues with or without DACA’s continuation.”
For Martínez, part of that fight is mirrored in her goal to become a lawyer and eventually return to Mexico.