Katia Escobar was preparing to start college at the University of Houston last year, excited about the prospect that Congress might soon pass legislation that would wipe out the barriers she faced as an undocumented “Dreamer,” brought to the U.S. from Mexico illegally by her parents when she was a year old.
But today, the once bright hopes of Escobar — and millions of other Dreamers — have all but evaporated. Despite President Biden’s brief renewed pledge in his State of the Union address to push for a “pathway to citizenship” for Dreamers, farmworkers and essential workers, the prospect for immigration reform seems more remote than ever, and undocumented immigrants like Escobar are increasingly disillusioned.
“I’m fighting for my life, and many others are with me on that,” said Escobar, who has become an activist on the issue. “My life and the lives of millions of others who are like me should not be up for debate.”
As for Biden’s remarks during his address, Escobar added that she’s not sure she trusts the White House to be truly committed. “We have seen in the past him making empty promises,” she said.
The White House did not respond to a Yahoo News request for comment on this story.
Escobar is an example of the real-life costs of congressional inaction on the issue of immigration — and the political risks for Biden and Democrats as they face challenging midterm elections without being able to deliver on an issue that has been a top priority of Hispanic groups for years.
A poll from Morning Consult/Politico released in January found that 56 percent of registered voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of immigration, an apparent reflection of persistent reports of surging border crossings since he took office. But while the spike in illegal entries has been amplified by conservative media and denounced by GOP lawmakers, some of the most stinging criticism of the White House is coming from Hispanic activists who once enthusiastically welcomed the Democratic president’s election and now see the administration as giving them little more than lip service.